For many organisations, ICT sustainability strategies have been stuck in the experimental phase, and have not been taken seriously, according to Fujitsu.
The managed service provider has been running its ICT sustainability study for the past three years, with methodology developed by Connection Research and RMIT University. CIOs and business managers are surveyed across eight countries, with each country given a score on its ICT sustainability.
In this year's report, the global ICT sustainability index declined marginally from 54.3 in 2011 to 53.1 in 2012; it was at 56.4 in 2010. A score of 80 is what Fujitsu would consider as being best practice.
Areas concerning operational ICT sustainability — such as IT equipment lifecycle, end-user computing devices, and enterprise datacentres — have seen a decline, according to the report. Meanwhile, the efforts in managerial parts of ICT sustainability, such as using ICT as an enabler for energy efficiency as well as implementing metrics, have improved.
"What that says is there seems to be an experimentation mode with ICT sustainability in organisations," Fujitsu executive director of sustainability Alison Rowe told ZDNet. "Often, we hear companies that, say, had done power management on desktops, but the person looking after that would leave and the company stops caring about it.
"So it's a real challenge of institutionalising change and getting a level of maturity where it goes beyond just experimenting with ICT sustainability efforts."
The report also found that larger companies are better at sticking with ICT sustainability practices than smaller companies.
Alison said that strategic and cultural changes are needed to ensure that organisations see through environmentally friendly ICT initiatives. This means letting ICT departments be responsible for energy usage, which is traditionally handled by financial units of businesses.
In terms of Australian organisations, they are lagging behind in getting ICT departments to be responsible for their energy consumption. Only 8.7 percent of respondents surveyed said that their IT departments have budgeted for energy costs. Despite this being a huge improvement from last year's 1 percent figure, it is still far below the global average of 23.1 per cent.
With the carbon tax already introduced, Rowe expects Australia's results to improve next year.
"Our research was probably conducted around the same time the carbon price was introduced," she said. "There was probably a period of time before that where a lot of organisations were sitting and waiting to see what happened, rather than take action.
"Hopefully, when we do the same research in the 12 months' time, companies would have moved and would be acting on ICT sustainability."
The ICT sustainability report surveyed 1,200 CIOs and senior managers across Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, and the United States.