Future government strategies and ways of using Green IT to save money and generate profit were two of the main themes highlighted by the keynote speakers on day one of the Green IT Expo 2009, the UK’s first free-to-attend event focused on bottom line benefits from sustainable computing.
At today's opening keynote, Senior Analyst at Ovum, Warren Wilson, highlighted the need for changes to business plans as environmental concerns put pressure on companies to provide greener products and services. With atmospheric carbon emissions above the danger threshold and problems looking to be twice as severe as predicted six years ago, CEOs and IT Managers are beginning to take responsibility. Wilson noted that in previous years, the idea that green and profit are two mutually exclusive words had stopped businesses investing in emerging green technology. However, with Return On Investment (ROI) of less than 12 months and evidence of international companies making major savings on energy and costs, businesses are starting to pay attention.
Wilson comments, "Changing the functions of data centres only accounts for a small percentage of energy use and carbon emissions. If we are to see a real impact, we need to look at how IT can reduce energy and carbon use throughout the entire business operation, particularly in manufacturing, building and vehicle use where green software can have the greatest effect. At the moment, this idea is underappreciated but we are starting to see more and more companies interested in making green investments, due to the increasing connection between green and cost efficiency."
During the afternoon's keynotes, Chief Sustainability Officer at Microsoft, Darren Strange, looked at how technology has the power to reduce costs as well as impacting positively on companies’ environmental sustainability.
Strange comments, “At Microsoft, we believe that true sustainability is not a quick fix, it’s a broad set of initiatives which have to be achieved in order to meet a business’ environmental goal. Technology can help drive real change, and Microsoft has a credible solution in every part of the technology spectrum, from the desktop PC to a state of the art data centre. UK business is on a journey to improve its environmental credentials and it’s great to see this becoming increasingly front of mind.”
Closing the first day was Head of Low Carbon Economy at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Trevor Hutchings, who looked at the business opportunities for the transition to a low carbon economy. Hutchings confirmed the need for a focus on improved resource efficiency where it is estimated that savings of £6.4 billion per year could be made by UK businesses in this area.
Hutchings comments, "There are huge business opportunities in the development of low carbon and environmental goods and services, where globally this market is estimated to be worth around £4.3 trillion by the middle of the next decade. We want to make sure the UK seizes this huge opportunity."
Day two of Green IT Expo will see keynotes from IBM who will discuss smart solutions for greener data centres and Paolo Bertoldi from the European Commission, who will look at ways of improving energy efficiency from a European perspective.
Green IT Expo 2009 is sponsored by 1E, AMD UK Limited, BCS, Capita Total Document Solutions, Microsoft, Iron Mountain, Cisco, Computer Aid International, IT-Energy, Ienovo, Salisbury VVC, TCO, verismic, VersionOne and vmware.
Green IT Expo 2009 is organised by one of the UK’s leading providers of focused business forums, Revolution Events, in association with Datamonitor, WWF’s global Climate Savers Computing Initiative, BCS/Carbon Smart, Action Sustainability and Global Action Plan. For further information please visit www.greenitexpo.com.