Thursday, May 03, 2007


Interesting benchmarks this week on the state of play of the greening of the IT industry.

According to ‘Industry must clean up its act’ by Sarah Arnott and Tom Young, Computing (03 May 2007), the IT industry contributes two per cent of all damaging carbon emissions putting the industry on a par with the aviation sector, according to the analyst Gartner. The two per cent figure includes both computer usage and the energy used to design, manufacture and distribute products and is considered a conservative estimate. But experts say IT also has more potential for speedy improvement than industries such as transport and manufacturing.

This week also Steve Jobs, stung by various criticisms about Apple’s environment policies, published a comprehensive rebuttal to criticisms of his company. See: ‘A Greener Apple.’ Jobs was responding to the Greenpeace's 'Green My Apple' campaign that had been lobbying the company to change their ways.

In September 2006, Greenpeace published a "Guide to Greener Electronics," rating fourteen consumer electronics vendors and issued a press release that specifically called attention to Apple and assigned the company a failing grade. Not everyone agreed with its findings.

See: 'Top Secret: Greenpeace Report Misleading and Incompetent' on the blog Roughly Drafted. See also 'More Secrets: The Scandal of Green Computing' and Myth 2: Greenpeace Toxic Apple Panic

Greenpeace had earlier published a report "Cutting Edge Contamination — A Study of Environmental Pollution During the Manufacture of Electronic Products" (8 February 2007), which highlights environmental contamination resulting from the manufacture of electronic equipment such as computers.

According to an analysis by Gartner, ‘Greenpeace Report a Wake-Up Call for the IT Industry’ by Simon Mingay (13 February 2007): ‘The IT industry will increasingly face investigations from environmental pressure groups, specifically related to chemical contamination, greenhouse gas emissions (mostly related to power consumption throughout a product's life cycle, including manufacture and distribution) and "profligate" use of nonrenewable resources. Investors will also want proof of the industry's environmental credentials.’

He concludes: ‘We believe there will be dramatic changes in 2007 and 2008 in enterprises' attitudes toward the environmental impact of IT (especially outside the U.S.), which will be reflected in buying criteria. The catalyst for these changes will be concerns about climate change.’

2 Jan 2007: The EC Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) came into force in the UK. It aims to minimise the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment, by increasing re-use and recycling and reducing the amount of WEEE going to landfill. It seeks to achieve this by making producers responsible for financing the collection, treatment, and recovery of waste electrical equipment, and by obliging distributors to allow consumers to return their waste equipment free of charge.

24 August 2006, Computing launched a Green Computing Charter to help to reduce IT operating costs and benefit the environment

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