One of the most striking results from the ZDNet 2010 IT Priorities survey was the relative insignificance of the importance of green IT.
Respondents could give multiple initiatives as their top IT priorities in the survey, but in Australia and New Zealand just 7.2 per cent considered green initiatives to be one of them. It hasn't moved from last year, where it was also at the bottom of the list of concerns.
Digging deeper into the results, however, there is a sizeable difference between the importance placed by IT management and other managers in an organisation. Just 5.3 per cent of ANZ IT managers saw being green as a top priority, compared to 9.3 per cent of senior managers.
Both figures seem low if we accept that some form of carbon pricing will be foisted on industry at some point, and a company that is not maximising its energy efficiency will soon have higher costs to contend with. Jens Butler, principal analyst at Ovum Research, believes that "in New South Wales, electricity costs are going to increase by at least 22 to 30 per cent a year, over the next three to five years".
Then there are the arguments emerging from the trading community that even now enterprises without demonstrable green credentials are becoming increasingly higher-risk investments.
Combine higher operating costs with a shrinking share price — and that may bring green IT issue back onto the radar.
In this part of the world, of course, being green has been heavily politicised. Let's remember we nearly had a Prime Minister who once described man-made climate change as "crap". Perhaps that's why being green is less of an IT concern than anywhere else in the IT Priorities survey.
In China, for example, 20 per cent of senior managers listed it as a top priority. In India the figure is even higher although it should be noted that respondents there had many more simultaneous top priorities than anywhere else.
To compensate for these regional differences I have attempted to normalise the results, by summing the total percentage of respondents for each top priority, then calculating green initiatives as a proportion of that total. As the graph shows, even allowing for this adjustment, the Indians' sense of green urgency is twice that of Australia/New Zealand, and we rank lower than anywhere else in the study.
I mentioned that politics might be partially to blame. That could be why the government and health sector ranks lowest — just 3.2 per cent of those respondents gave green initiatives as one of their top priorities. That's quite a result for a country with twice the carbon emissions per capita than the UK and Germany.
For more information on how to get a full copy of ZDNet Australia's IT Priorities research results, email Theresa Muzinda.