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Green marketing meets deaf ears in IT 15 May, 2007

Posted by Jay Ball in clean tech, green.

Channel Register is carrying a story about some new Forrester research into IT buyers’ attitudes to greener products.

In a survey of 124 IT buyers in North America and Europe, they found good news in that 85% said green factors are important. However only 25% had written green criteria into purchases and only 15% were aware of vendors’ green initiatives.

Forrester senior vice president Christopher Mines said:

We heard two reasons why green matters: efficiency and corporate responsibility. Most IT decision-makers told us that a green purchase would only happen in the context of cost reduction. These are hard-headed, ROI-driven business decisions.

Now of course we have to be careful because this a pretty tiny sample size spread across markets which have quite differing attitudes to anything green. But if we take it as representative should we still agree that actually it’s all down to cost?

If this was true then we could expect that all IT purchases (green or not) would go to the cheapest vendor.  This of course is not the case. There are a range of factors that come into play. And, as the survey shows, it is still the case that most vendors have not made customers sufficiently aware of the green options or the wider benefits.

There are often efficiency benefits to green products. Traditional PCs for example use shed-loads of power – and power isn’t cheap. They also generate loads of heat which then requires air conditioning to correct (more power). Many are massively over-spec’d for their users (bigger processors, more heat, more power, more cost).

A single PC left on all day is responsible for about 1,500 lbs of CO2. Greener alternatives use less power and generate less heat (saving around £50/$100 per computer per year). They create less carbon to start with and offset what little there is. And they are comparable on price. That’s before we get to the corporate responsibility part of the equation.

Pretty compelling. Now if only the message could be communicated effectively (call us if you need some help).

Basically this all means that the hard-headed, ROI-driven business decision often is a green one (and that there is a huge opportunity in the market).



1. "they all seem good": need for a green computer RFP template « Computing for Sustainability - 3 June, 2007

[…] story:  Forrester’s recently published research on green IT has been reported as “Green meets deaf ears in IT” and Green issues overlooked in IT procurement, says Forrester. In a survey of 124 IT buyers in […]

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