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Green issues overlooked in IT procurement, survey says

Green evangelism not translating into action

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Most large companies ignore environmental issues when buying IT solutions, according to research.

While 85 per cent of IT buyers say green factors are important in planning IT operations, only 25 per cent have written green criteria into their puchasing processes.

The findings from Forrester Research are based on a survey of 124 IT operations and procurement professionals in North America and Europe.

Technology vendors such as Advanced Micro Devices, Cisco, Dell, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, and Sun Microsystems are investing heavily in green initiatives such as energy-efficient servers, data centre power and cooling solutions, cleaner manufacturing, and device recycling programs. But Forrester's research found that the market is not buying green.

Forrester senior vice president Christopher Mines said: "We heard two reasons why green matters: efficiency and corporate responsibility. Most IT decision-makers told us that a green purchase would only happen in the context of cost reduction. These are hard-headed, ROI-driven business decisions."

One chief technology officer at a manufacturing company told Forrester, "We would do green because it makes business sense, not because it's green. It would have to show cost savings."

Forrester found that IT buyers want to hear more about vendors' efforts to design and market more environmentally responsible products and services. Only 15 per cent of the IT professionals surveyed said they have a high level of awareness of vendors' green initiatives, and most said they were hearing little or nothing from top-tier vendors about green solutions. Most respondents said they expected green to impact their purchasing decisions in the future.

"Technology marketers today will find increasingly receptive audiences for green evangelism," said Mines. "Slowly, that receptivity will translate into action on the part of enterprise IT organisations."

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