Sustainable ICT power consumption losing impetus

Australia’s Information and communication technology (ICT) sector has had a decline in its sustainability performance in the past year, according to Fujitsu.

The ICT business solutions provider published the results of its second ICTSustainability: TheGlobal Benchmark Report in September, providing an analysis of the trending maturity of ICT Sustainability in organisations across the globe.

Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand sustainability director Chris Seale said Australia’s significant decline in the end-user category, from 62.3 to 51.8, indicates that many local ICT operations may be suffering from ‘green fatigue’ or initiatives have failed to become institutionalised.

“This is further supported by Australia’s very low visibility of ICT power consumption where less than 1 per cent of ICT departments are responsible for the cost of ICT’s power consumption,” Mr Seale said.

Fujitsu’s global executive director of sustainability Alison Rowe said there was not only a relative lack of maturity in ICT sustainability policies, practices and technologies, but the overall Index has declined slightly from 2010, indicating that some of the buzz has gone from ‘green’ ICT.

“Many organisations have reached a plateau with ICT Sustainability. They may have tackled the easy initiatives, such as PC power management or telecommuting, but the problem is that even these have declined in performance.

“The survey reveals that the single most important reason ICT departments don’t prioritise ICT Sustainability, or feel they have a compelling reason to do so, is the lack of visibility of ICT power consumption. Until this data can be quantified, change cannot be measured and successes cannot be recognised.”

Australia was one of the four countries surveyed in 2010, when its Index was 53.9 and its marginal decline this year indicates that ICT Sustainability in Australia has lost momentum. Australia ranked below Canada, the UK and the USA and slightly ahead of New Zealand, India and China. Its overall rating of 52.8 is just below the international average.

More than half the respondents had no understanding of how much power ICT consumes, with only one in seven ICT divisions including the cost of ICT’s power consumption in their departmental budgets. For the very small proportion (14.2 per cent) where ICT has control and responsibility for ICT-specific power consumption, their performance was significantly higher.

Larger organisations, which have more sophisticated ICT functions and generally more advanced ICT Sustainability practices are more likely to be aware of the cost of ICT’s energy consumption. Organisations with more than 5000 employees have an average score of 61.7 compared with just 50.7 for those with 100 to 499 employees.