Businesses bite on green IT claims

Vendors' green initiatives are increasingly swaying buyers' decisions, according to the latest IDC survey.

Vendors' green initiatives are increasingly swaying buyers' decisions to their products and services, according to the latest IDC survey.

The poll assessed the buying behaviour of companies in Asia-Pacific with respect to green IT, showed that 81 percent of organisations thought their IT suppliers' environmentally-friendly products and initiatives "would become much more important over the next few years".

Among respondents, 18 percent said they considered "greenness" of their vendors as a selection criterion, while another 30 percent expected this to become a factor in the near future.

However, IDC noted that the level of awareness and adoption of green IT varies a "great deal depending on the maturity of the market", where it is more significant in developed economies.

IDC said: "[Such] organisations are looking to integrate 'green requirements' into requests for proposals (RFPs) for procurement of IT products and services."

In October last year analyst firm Gartner claimed that green IT was the number one issues facing the industry in 2007. Gartner claimed the principal driver behind green IT initiatives was rising energy costs.

This will have a major impact on IT budgets in the future, said Gartner, with energy costs rising from less than 10 percent of the budget to more than 50 percent within the next few years.

Gartner also claimed the intense power requirements needed to run and cool datacentres now account for almost a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions from ICT.

For developing economies, the cost-saving benefits of green initiatives are a larger bargaining chip than environmental awareness.

Philip Carter, head of IDC's Asia-Pacific green IT practice, said in a statement that the first phase of green IT adoption for emerging markets will be that of focusing on keeping setups "lean" -- improving energy efficiency to keep electricity costs down, for example.

Other initiatives such as recycling and paper management, will not be a focal point for such companies, since they are "perceived to have less of an impact on the bottom line", said Carter.

IDC advised vendors to make a business case for cost reduction of green IT in the short term. Gartner made a similar advisement in 2007, predicting the potential to overspend on power will impact on the IT department's ability to grow and meet business needs in the future.

IDC added that with governments in the region raising awareness through regulatory policies, "the broader notions of corporate social responsibility and sustainability" will become growth and financial drivers in the future.

Graham Andrews, CIO of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, spoke to last year on how vendors are factoring in green issues when competing for business.

"A major PC hardware vendor recently submitted an RFP to us for a fleet of laptops, the team that was doing the evaluation noticed that that submission was on single sided paper, and make a comment about it," he said.