by James Hutchinson

Aussie CIOs lead way in green IT

Sep 16, 2010
Technology Industry

Australian CIOs are leading the charge in taking responsibility for sustainability practices and measures within their respective companies, according to research from IDC.

A survey of 200 IT and end-line executives in Australia by the analyst firm found that, in 38 per cent of cases, C-level executives and particularly CIOs were taking lead in green IT measures ahead of other departments within the company.

“This is very interesting in terms of the Australian market versus a lot of the other countries, where in some situations it’s driven from an IT manager level as opposed to CIO, CEO and CTO,” IDC research director of green IT sustainability practice group, Philip Carter, said.

The study also found 61 per cent consider the cost of energy to be the main driver for sustainability principles, with the same proportion of companies valuing the green credentials of the vendors they tender to for IT projects.

The IDC research showed 54 per cent of Australian organisations already had a green IT policy in place for more than three years. However, it also found that the IT department only paid the bill in 9 per cent of situations, which Carter said withdrew the visibility of the effects to the CIO and removed incentives to optimise energy use in technology.

“It sits with facilities and the CFO and the finance department in the majority of situations,” he said.

Corporate governance and sustainability advisor, Ian Dunlop, said that while work had been in motion on the ground from the executive level down, company chairmen and board members were yet to take the matter seriously, and lagged behind staff in implementing proper strategy for environmental sustainability.

“It is such a cross-domain and cross-functional type of initiative within an organisation that it is quite difficult to do without executive sponsorship,” Carter said.

Disclosure of performance in green IT practices remained a pitfall, with a separate survey of 42 companies finding only 20 per cent disclosed their performance against set goals.

A wider poll of 600 CIOs and IT managers across the US, UK, Australia and India conducted by Fujitsu found that green IT remained an immature prospect locally, to the point that any measures were unlikely to offset carbon emissions in the area ahead of 2020. The study also found, however, that such services could cut bills by up to 20 per cent within the company.