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SNW BT is going green in part to avoid being targeted by environmental activists after it emerged that that it now uses 0.75 per cent of the UK's electricity.

Steve O'Donnell, the telco's global data centre boss revealed during a panel session at SNW Europe that the telco was afraid of being besieged by hordes of dreadlocked enviro-hippies.

The IT industry's relatively dull public profile may have helped it escape public criticism so far, but it needs to get its energy consumption sorted out before that changes, he suggested.

"IT uses as much energy and produces as much carbon as the airline industry," he said. "There's protestors setting up camp around Heathrow airport, I don't want them around my data centre."

O'Donnell pointed out that BT is already generating some of its own electricity and plans to spend £250m building wind farms around the UK.

He added, though, that it's not so much a matter of reducing overall power consumption, but of freeing up resources in an energy-constrained market.

"Going green saves money and lets us expand our data centres - we have 7,000 of them around the world," he said.

"Green is good, but saving money and increasing shareholder value is better - it adds brand value, and your share price goes up as a result."®

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