UK government must lead on green IT buying

5 July 2009

06 July 2009 | Jake Kanter

The government must use its purchasing power to help the IT industry become greener.

The study by environmental charity Global Action Plan (GAP) said government should pull its "procurement weight" to buy energy efficient equipment and encourage "eco-design", eliminating the disposal of goods which are hazardous to the environment.

The government spends £13 billion a year on IT and public sector buyers continue to make decisions "based solely on capital expenditure" rather than focusing on the long-term costs of powering and cooling equipment, the report said.

GAP surveyed 173 public sector IT buyers and found 60 per cent were not aware of the Greening Government ICT strategy, set out last year by cabinet minister Tom Watson.

It included targets to specify environmental criteria in IT tenders and make government technology carbon neutral by 2020 (Web news, 23 July 2008).

Only 13 per cent of those surveyed by GAP calculated the carbon footprint of their IT activity, while as little as 22 per cent set internal green IT targets.

Rakesh Kumar, an analyst at Gartner and researcher for the study, said: "Government needs to increase the level of transparency around the effectiveness of green ICT initiatives. This will help to build collaboration, reduce duplication and embed good practice."


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