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Companies in the UK are doing little more than paying lip-service to the idea of reducing their environmental impact, and will continue in the same vein until they are forced to do otherwise.

According to research from the Green Technology Initiative, 70 per cent of firms in the UK have no plans to reduce their carbon footprint - despite a high level of awareness of green issues.

The GTI is a not-for-profit group set up to provide information to companies about how they can reduce their environmental impact.

Dan Sutherland, founder and acting chair of the Green Technology Initiative, says that until either financial, legal or peer pressure forces business to change, things are unlikely to move much.

"Businesses need to make money more than they need to save the planet," he told us. "No business will ever call for greater regulation, but it [going green] needs to be made their problem."

The survey, which asked more than 100 IT managers and consultants for their views on the environmental impact of IT, found that 90 per cent thought reducing the carbon footprint of IT systems would be a vital part of any so-called green strategy.

But implementation of a green strategy seems to be sorely lacking, with firms seeming reluctant to take even the more obvious steps of linking IT and power budgets: 79 per cent said there was no link between power spend and IT budget, and 95 per cent said they had no way of measuring the efficiency of their systems.

Sutherland says that the current situation is unsustainable. "The vast majority of businesses we spoke to have no idea how much energy they use, so they have no idea if they are efficient. The first thing to do is measure your energy use."

But even the basics - such as turning off IT equipment at night, or using green energy sources - are by no means universally adopted. One in five respondents said they had no idea how much of their kit was still running at night, and just 50 per cent were sure that more than half was switched off.

Meanwhile, three quarters of respondents had either not considered using green energy suppliers, or had chosen suppliers that did not offer a green option. Only six per cent reported actively seeking out energy from renewable sources.

Chris Hines, director of sustainability at The Eden Project, said: “IT has the potential to have huge benefits for sustainability. But if played wrong can accelerate its impact disastrously. All businesses can think smart about making IT work for them and the planet.”

The Green Technology Initiative said firms were failing to take responsibility for going green, instead looking to suppliers and government to do the work for them. ®

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