The report is called “ICT Sustainability: The Global Benchmark 2012”, the third in an annual series. This year’s report reveals that efforts to improve green IT (which Fujitsu calls ICT sustainability) have stalled in organisations across the world, and opportunities to cut costs and make more efficient use of resources are not being maximised.
“ICT Sustainability must shift from idealism to commercialism, with the measurement of ICT energy usage crucial to enable efficiency gains,” says Alison Rowe, Fujitsu’s Global Executive Director for Sustainability. She says the report “represents the most comprehensive, longitudinal analysis ever undertaken on the relative maturity of ICT Sustainability practices and technologies in a number of global markets, as well as comparative performance by country and industry sector.”
The research summarises the findings of responses from 1200 CIOs from eight countries (Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the USA). Respondents were questioned on sustainability initiatives ranging through procurement, disposal, power management, virtualisation, consolidation, mobility, data centre efficiency, networking, cloud, software design, teleworking, collaboration, business process optimisation, carbon and energy management tools for measurement and reporting.
The report’s metrics are based on a benchmarking methodology developed by Australian research company Connection Research, in which green it and its five constituent components are rated on a scale of 1 to 100, depending on their level of maturity. The global ICT Sustainability Index (ITSx) declined slightly in 2012, falling to 53.1 from 54.3 in 2011 and a high of 56.4 in 2010.
Rower says this flat result indicates that while organisations have experimented with environmental initiatives, these have not resulted in strategic, cultural changes. “This failure is possibly due to competing priorities, inferior change management practices or the loss of critical sustainability champions. Until there is clear direction for sustainability to be treated as a demonstrable KPI, progress is likely to remain less than impressive.”
More positively, the findings revealed there has been a marked rise in the number of IT departments that have total responsibility for IT power bills and consumption. This year, 23.1% of IT departments now account for IT energy costs and consumption, compared with just 14.2% in 2011.
“The shift from sustainability idealism to commercially sustainable results is evident through improved green IT performance. Organisations that account for IT energy costs and consumption in the IT budget have a much higher index (67.6) than those that had never considered it, where the average index is just 34.8.
“Don’t just measure IT energy consumption. Disaggregate it, understand it, manage it in real-time and set key performance indicators that drive organisation-wide improvements to the bottom line. I urge executive teams to use the value from this benchmark study to help build the business case for ICT Sustainability initiatives to be used as a key component for improvement in overall financial performance,” Rowe said.
- The average ICT Sustainability Index (ITSx) in 2012 for all countries and all sectors is 53.1.
- The USA is the strongest performing country in 2012, with an ITSx of 57.3.
- The Utilities/Construction/Mining sector is the highest scoring industry, with an ITSx of 56.5.
- The USA financial services industry, with an ITSx of 66.8, is the highest of any sector in any country.
- Globally 23.1% of IT departments include the cost of IT power consumption in their budget, up from 14.% in 2011
In 2012 with a rating of 50.1, Australia has experienced successive declines from 52.8 in 2011 and 53.9 in 2010 and is below the global ITSx of 53.1. But Australia did show an improvement in the management of IT power bills. In 2011, hardly any Australian ICT departments budgeted for ICT power bills and took direct responsibility for their energy consumption.
In 2012, this rose to 8.7%. While this is a positive sign, Australian organisations still lag well behind the global average. Government, with an ITSx of 53.7, is the best perming industry and the only sector to perform above the global ITSx of 53.1.
Disclaimer - the methodology used for the report was developed by Connection Resaerch. Graeme Philipson, author of this article, is a director of that company.