Singapore firms aware but not acting on green IT ideals

Companies in city-state starting green IT measures though mostly standalone ones, which are not as effective compared to balanced, collaborative efforts, new study showed.
Written by Jamie Yap, Journalist on

SINGAPORE--Companies here are highly aware of the importance and benefits of green IT but are less active in terms of carrying out eco-friendly activities and action, according to a new study.

Commissioned by Fuji Xerox Singapore and released Friday, the study revealed that many respondents indicated their companies are already implementing eco-friendly IT measures. It found that 81 percent indicated that they have embarked on better management of desktop PC power usage while 74 percent have adopted videoconferencing as examples of their green initiatives.

These measures are "easy to practice, [produce] tangible benefits and have low costs of adoption", the company added.

Server virtualization also saw seeing increasing adoption with 44 percent utilizing the technology, but costs and technical complexity proved to be deterrents for higher uptake, the study noted.

The study was conducted by Connected Insights earlier in September and polled 150 local companies, all of which had more than 100 employees. They were assessed according to seven criteria: green office practices; green procurement; green document management; green technology adoption; green IT certification or training; green IT outsourcing; and carbon trading awareness.

The study also showed 76 percent of respondents recognizing the need for green IT certification or training of staff, but only 6 percent had training or certification programs in place. The majority (80 percent) reported no activities planned to equip their staff while 11 percent said they were currently exploring options.

Balance, collaboration make for easier green adoption
Based on the findings, Daniel Sim, business innovation consultant for the strategy and innovation office at Fuji Xerox Singapore, said the contrast between "high awareness but low activity" of green IT proved that achieving green IT ideals through standalone efforts will not work.

Sim, who presented the study's results today at a media briefing, told ZDNet Asia at the sidelines that there needs to be an internal and external balance to drive green IT adoption and mindset further in the office. Thus, collaborative efforts both within the organization and with all its partners--including suppliers and external vendors--are critical, he stressed.

One organization with this collaborative mindset is Deutsche Bank, which has committed to be carbon neutral globally by 2012. One of the guest speakers at the event, Eric Kwong, the bank's vice president and head of user services, information enterprise services, said to meet this target required a lot of collaboration from the IT department to finance and real estate and leasing.

The collaboration was also extended beyond the bank, the executive pointed out. For example, it created an eco-supplier program to assess and make purchasing decisions based on a vendor's green credentials. So besides the bank purchasing eco-friendly resources, suppliers are now incentivized to be green-certified in order to gain more contracts, he explained.

Sim added that when all parties collaborate, "users can do less [effort] to go green and yet are better able to conform to the [green IT] ideal".

For instance, even though 51 percent of the respondents shared that they purchase only recycled content paper or certified virgin-pulp paper, only 36 percent indicated that they purchase from green suppliers or manufacturers. This, the Fuji Xerox executive noted, shows while companies want to buy green materials, the lack of eco-friendly vendors forces them to opt for the not-so-ideal option.

Where Fuji Xerox can play a role to help drive sustainability practices is by building in energy-saving or efficient features and functions that would aid in green IT adoption, Sim pointed out. Its "intelligent" multi-function devices, which allow for print on-demand and energy saving mechanisms, are examples of this, he added.

"A completely paperless office is not possible, but [an organization] can use less paper and print responsibly with our devices," he said.


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