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Inefficient ICT Sector's Carbon Emissions Set to Surpass Aviation Industry

First National Survey Reveals 60% of businesses are lacking support for Sustainable Ict strategies

(PresseBox) (London, ) The ICT sector in the UK has a carbon footprint similar to the aviation industry and its skyrocketing growth means it will soon surpass the poster child for climate change, a report by Global Action Plan with guidance from the Environmental IT Leadership Team (EILT) revealed today.

Worryingly, 86% of ICT departments surveyed for the report do not know the carbon footprint of their activities and less than 20% even see their energy bills. The growth in carbon emissions from the sector is being exacerbated by Government policies requiring higher levels of data to be stored.

Encouragingly, increased efficiencies using proven techniques could lead to rapid and significant carbon savings. Most ICT professionals are aware of green technology and would like to be involved in sustainability initiatives. But they are in great need of support to do so.

The report 'An Inefficient Truth' was advised by the EILT; the UK's first independent expert user group focused on exploring and publishing best practice sustainable Information Communication Technology (ICT) strategies.

The environmental charity Global Action Plan today calls on the UK government to introduce legislation and tax incentives to support the adoption of sustainable ICT policies and strategy in British businesses.

The report includes a national survey that is the first to measure awareness between the use of ICT in business and its contribution to the UK's carbon footprint; identify the proportion of companies seeking energy efficient strategies; and to promote examples of best practice.

Key findings in the report include:

- 61% of UK data centres only have the capacity for two years of growth.
- 37% of companies are storing data indefinitely due to government policy.
- Nearly 40% of servers are underutilised by more than 50%.
- 80% of respondents do not believe their company's data policies are environmentally sustainable.

Trewin Restorick, director of Global Action Plan and chair of the EILT, comments, "ICT equipment currently accounts for 3-4% of the world's carbon emissions, and 10% of the UK's energy bill. The average server, for example, has roughly the same annual carbon footprint as an SUV doing 15 miles-per-gallon! With a carbon footprint now equal to the aviation industry, ICT, and how businesses utilise ICT, will increasingly come under the spotlight as governments seek to achieve carbon-cutting commitments."

The survey, which was completed by CIOs, IT directors and senior decision makers from 120 UK enterprises, found that over 60% of respondents consider time pressures and cost the biggest barriers to adopting sustainable ICT policies, and believe that recognised standards and tax allowances would provide the most valuable support towards reducing ICT's contribution to the UK's carbon emissions.

Restorick adds, "The survey illustrates that ICT departments have been slow off the mark to address their carbon footprint. Awareness is now growing but to turn this into action, ICT departments need help. They need vendors to give them better information rather than selling green froth, they need Government policies to become more supportive and less contradictory, and they need more support from within their organisations."

Logicalis, international ICT provider and sponsors of 'An Inefficient Truth', agrees that legislation and tax incentives are important, but, first and foremost, businesses must evaluate the efficiency of existing ICT infrastructure, citing server under-utilisation and the data centre as prime examples of energy abuse. Tom Kelly, managing director for Logicalis UK, comments:

"The government's draft climate change bill proposes a 60% cut in emissions by 2050. In this environment, a flabby business that guzzles budget and energy is likely to be a prime target for impending legislation.

"CIOs have a responsibility to ensure their ICT infrastructure can support a lean and dynamic business, yet as this survey demonstrates, many ICT departments are unsure if and how they can maximise their existing assets. With data centre capacity at a premium, and energy bills escalating, CIOs are well advised to look inward for energy saving initiatives and to instigate cultural change throughout the business. In short, efficient IT equals green IT."

As a result of the survey Global Action Plan is calling on ICT vendors and the government to provide businesses with the support and tools to implement ICT best practice.

These demands include:

- Government to provide incentives to help companies reduce the carbon footprint of their IT activities
- Government to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of energy for data centre needs in the future
- Government to review its policies on long-term data storage to take into account the carbon implications
- ICT vendors to significantly improve the quality of their environmental information
- ICT departments to be accountable for the energy costs of running and cooling ICT equipment
- Companies to ensure ICT departments are fully engaged in their CSR and environmental policies
- Companies to ensure that their ICT infrastructure meets stricter efficiency targets

Gary Hird, Technical Strategy Manager for John Lewis Partnership and member of the EILT comments: "Green Computing is an opportunity for us all to clearly demonstrate IT's value in helping our companies tackle an urgent, and global, issue. It is vital that we do a good job collectively and that means being open about the specific problems we're facing and the solutions we're pursuing. The Global Action Plan survey provides a 'current state' understanding of companies' green IT initiatives and the obstacles we must overcome to help them succeed."

Notes to editors The survey was conducted over a period of eight weeks. 120 surveys were analysed, representing organisations employing over 0.5 million employees and with a combined ICT spend in excess of £475 million, and revenues worth in excess of £13 billion to the UK economy. The full survey results can be downloaded from: www.globalactionplan.org.uk

About Environmental IT Leadership Team Led by environmental charity Global Action Plan, and sponsored by international ICT provider Logicalis, the Environmental IT Leadership Team is an independent expert user group focused on exploring and publishing best practice sustainable IT strategies. The group will question political, industry, technology, and expert witnesses and have the power to commission independent research into specific areas of concern such as the Data Centre, Information Growth, and Legislation.

This green IT team provides a forum to review vendors' advice and government policy, cutting through the techy and political jargon to give practical advice for creating a sustainable IT structure. The team also helps peers put carbon reduction policies into practice and greatly reduce their environmental impact.

The remit and the direction of the Leadership Team is shaped by the evolving challenges and concerns that CIOs face, as the IT department becomes the focus of carbon reduction strategies for many mid to large organisations. Through debate, research and discussion, the board aims to have a powerful impact on the way IT is purchased and implemented in the future.

About Global Action Plan Global Action Plan is the practical environmental charity that helps people to make positive changes in their workplace, home, school, and community.

By working together, we make the small changes that have a big impact on the things that matter. We achieve measurable results in the UK by taking action on energy, waste, water and transport.

The charity was created in 1993 as a different kind of environmental organisation, focusing on people and how they can take practical action in their everyday lives for a better world. In the UK, we have helped thousands of people and organisations to make substantial environmental and financial savings. www.globalactionplan.org.uk

Notes to editors

The survey was conducted over a period of eight weeks. 120 surveys were analysed, representing organisations employing over 0.5 million employees and with a combined ICT spend in excess of £475 million, and revenues worth in excess of £13 billion to the UK economy. The full survey results can be downloaded from: www.globalactionplan.org.uk

About Environmental IT Leadership Team

Led by environmental charity Global Action Plan, and sponsored by international ICT provider Logicalis, the Environmental IT Leadership Team is an independent expert user group focused on exploring and publishing best practice sustainable IT strategies. The group will question political, industry, technology, and expert witnesses and have the power to commission independent research into specific areas of concern such as the Data Centre, Information Growth, and Legislation.

This green IT team provides a forum to review vendors' advice and government policy, cutting through the techy and political jargon to give practical advice for creating a sustainable IT structure. The team also helps peers put carbon reduction policies into practice and greatly reduce their environmental impact.

The remit and the direction of the Leadership Team is shaped by the evolving challenges and concerns that CIOs face, as the IT department becomes the focus of carbon reduction strategies for many mid to large organisations. Through debate, research and discussion, the board aims to have a powerful impact on the way IT is purchased and implemented in the future.

About Global Action Plan

Global Action Plan is the practical environmental charity that helps people to make positive changes in their workplace, home, school, and community.

By working together, we make the small changes that have a big impact on the things that matter. We achieve measurable results in the UK by taking action on energy, waste, water and transport.

The charity was created in 1993 as a different kind of environmental organisation, focusing on people and how they can take practical action in their everyday lives for a better world. In the UK, we have helped thousands of people and organisations to make substantial environmental and financial savings. www.globalactionplan.org.uk

Logicalis GmbH

Logicalis is an international provider of integrated ICT solutions, delivering secure, converged computing and communications infrastructure and services. We can provide the architecture, deployment, integration and management of networks and systems to deliver leading edge solutions that create value for our customers and meet their business needs now and into the future.

Logicalis is a trusted provider of multi-vendor solutions and services operating in the most complex and challenging business environments. Our relationships with the industry's leading technology suppliers, combined with our business understanding enable you to invest with confidence.

The Logicalis Group is a division of Datatec Limited (DTC), a $3.2 billion multi-national Group listed on the AIM market of the LSE and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. With international headquarters in the UK, the Logicalis Group has operations in the US, UK, Germany, and South America.

Logicalis UK has achieved independent certification for its integrated management system, information security, IT service management offerings and its environmental standards: ISO 9001; ISO 27001; ISO 20000 and ISO14001 respectively.