Sustainable IT Realistic for All Businesses.

Article date: Thu, 02 Jun 2011 15:57 GMT

Sustainable IT Round Table

Many small to medium size businesses are not involving themselves in Green IT because they believe it requires too much investment, according to a panel of sustainable IT experts.

There is a belief that Green IT is only affordable for large corporations. This view has been compounded by large amounts of press focussing on the endeavours of large corporations, such as Google investing in solar energy. However, at a recent round table event held by hosting solutions provider UKFast, experts agreed that Green IT was affordable to all businesses.

Paul Harris, marketing director at UKFast argued that "energy creation doesn't have to be the realm of huge energy companies. There are sustainable energy schemes that are accessible to smaller business."

The panel acknowledged that it would not be easy to facilitate the change in perceptions needed to increase Green IT adoption. James Cole, specialist projects director at data centre design and build specialist, Sudlows said "It's a significant battle to make business more aware that doing the environmental thing isn't mutually exclusive to running a profitable business. Really the two can come together to provide a more profitable business but also a stronger brand with lower operational costs. It can be win-win to look at sustainable options in IT."

In fact, Richard Branson says that Green Business is the biggest entrepreneurial opportunity of this century. Last year he founded The Carbon War Room to reduce emissions across all industries. His team encourages large businesses and entrepreneurs in equal measure to adopt a greener approach.

The round table experts also identified that SMBs often felt that because they do not own the IT infrastructure they are using, there is little they can do to drive the sustainable IT revolution.

Dave Carter, head of Manchester Digital Development Agency, highlighted that at the beginning of the Internet, this was different. "When the Internet really started to commercialise in the early 90's - and Manchester was a crucial catalyst for that - it was small entrepreneurs coming along and going for the really high risk, high reward stuff. They felt it was worth it because they had some direct control over the infrastructure. That's the way we have to look at that kind of thing."

The panel also identified that while they might not own the infrastructure, if SMBs demand green that is what suppliers will provide. Paul Harris summed up with "the future is businesses providing these products because they have to, because people demand it."

UKFast is one SMB that has embraced Green IT and recognises that anyone can play a part in change. In 2010 UKFast achieved its PAS 2060 certification, making it the first certified carbon-neutral hosting company in the UK.

The round tables are held with the aim of bringing business leaders together to share ideas and advice for other developing companies. Other panellists included Jill Partington, spokesperson for Keep Britain Tidy and Steven Glynn, partner at The Sustainable Change Co-Operative.

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