Everyone can attest to how the IT industry has changed their lives but until more recently most people didn’t think about the toll it was taking on the environment. To find out how green the IT industry truly is, CDN interviewed 20 experts across the technology sector, government, as well as environmental and advocacy groups.
Read on to see what they said.
by Sarah Lysecki, writer, itbusiness.ca
Q. Is it necessary for customers to pay a premium for green-friendly technology, and are they willing to pay that premium?
A. I would say it’s not necessary in every situation. If we can get the externalities into the operating costs of things, then there will be a payback even in the cases where you do have to pay more upfront.
Chris Stoate, president of Laser Networks, an Oakville-based VAR
Q. Vendors are talking about green issues, but is it impacting customer buying decisions?
A. For most companies, green criteria such as energy efficient products, responsible manufacturing and recycling, are a “tie breaker” when other factors such as price and performance are equal.
Christopher Mines, senior vice-president,
Q. Are technology vendors doing enough to address green issues, and how do their efforts compare to other manufacturers?
A. What is still very much lacking by this industry in terms of environmental performance is basically the value of the product. The products are being produced with the sole purpose of selling them.
Zeina Alhaj, campaign coordinator,
Greenpeace International, Amsterdam
Q. How big of a role do green issues such as energy efficiency, carbon footprint, garbage, waste, water, space and transit play in the value proposition that you pitch to prospective customers when they are looking at upgrading their data centre?
A. We have a lot of customers that are very proud of the fact that they are reducing their carbon footprint by using our technology.
Brian Rosenberg, business unit executive, site and facilities services, IBM Global Technology, Winnipeg
Q. What role can the federal government play in furtherance of Green IT?
A. …purchasing energy efficient IT equipment and enabling the energy-saving features on them, as well as turning the equipment off after hours, can lead to substantial energy savings and therefore cost savings over the life of the equipment.
John Baird, Environment Minister of Canada
Q. How is Bell making use of the Green Meeting Calculator and why did it decide to develop the Smart Meeting Guide?
A. The Green Meeting Calculator is a tool that supports The Smart Meeting Guide. The Guide is a very simple approach to lay out the benefits. It uses the work/life balance component and the productivity component …
Marc Duchesne, director of corporate responsibility
Q. Is video conferencing really a viable green alternative to travel for most companies?
A. Effective video conference technology solutions, combined with knowledgeable users, can reduce the amount of travel for many companies, disregarding size. Solution has to be easy to use, configure, manage and run on standard corporate and public IP-based networks, without taking too much bandwidth.
Q. How active are Canadian companies in driving greener IT?
A. They are becoming increasingly active, particularly in Western Canada. Because of the history in knowledge of energy in Western Canada, they are almost a natural fit to understand the issues, particularly in the alternative energy spaces.
John Ruffolo, national leader, technology, media and telecom industry group, Deloitte & Touche
Q. Is there a lot of so-called “greenwashing” going on around the green IT issue or are technology vendors totally dedicated in their commitment to the environment?
A. The Alliance is an environmental organization based in California and is one of Al Gore’s key projects.
Brian Hardwick, development and communications,
Q. What green IT measures has Lenovo undertaken that led to its recognition by Greenpeace?
A. Over the past several months Lenovo has taken several steps to strengthen its environmental commitments. For example, we have implemented recycling programs in every country we do business with, many of those offering free recycling.
Mike Pierce, director of environmental affairs,