Sustainability yet to reach the IT shop

Report shows ICT is not central to sustainability push

Only 39% of New Zealand businesses with a sustainability strategy have included information technology infrastructure as a key part of those strategies.

That is one of the findings of a recent study by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The study is a follow-on from an earlier joint council/IBM survey conducted in April.

The results of both were presented by council chief executive Peter Neilson to the IBM Forum, in Wellington, last week.

Neilson began his presentation bluntly: “There’s no point in being very green and broke; that’s not sustainable.”

There were 2,302 respondents to the joint survey, which included 200 IT people as a sub-sample. Neilson says 61% of IT managers believe business must become more sustainable.

However, few surveyed know whether their organisation have a strategy. Only 21% in the IT industry feel their organisation has one.

“People are not necessarily seeing IT has part of an environmental campaign,” Neilson says.

For example, 57% of IT people think sustainability has little or no impact on buying decisions.

That is the poorest ranking across all sectors surveyed.

That said, the majority of large companies, such as the major banks, have begun using “sustainable” suppliers across the board.

“The large companies are beginning to lean on suppliers and this is having a cascading affect on business,” Neilson says.

“42% have already dropped a supplier because of performance.”

The tendency is to put the onus on the supplier rather than to take action internally.

Neilson says the environment has an impact on 38% of procurement decisions, particularly within government. He says energy costs are the main pressure point on business, and that 38% of organisations are beginning to monitor energy use.

However, 26% of IT managers don’t believe IT emissions can be cut without affecting performance.

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