Green IT: when information technology is environmentally friendly

Elizabeth Smith

There are 830 million tons of carbon dioxide produced annually by global ICT. How is this possible?According to a survey conducted by Ademe (French agency for environment and energy control), it seems that an employee produces an average of 13 tons of CO2 per year just by exchanging emails.

This figure shows that it is not enough to pay attention only to the material waste produced by the companies themselves. But to rethink the development of technologies from a more environmentally sustainable perspective. Based on this concept, Green IT (or Green Computing) was developed, which aims to minimize the environmental impact of the IT sector.

What is Green IT

Techopedia defines Green IT as “the environmentally friendly and low-impact use of computers and other computing tools.”

The expression green computing originated in 1992, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched the “Energy Star” program to evaluate and promote the energy efficiency of monitors and other electronic equipment.

The need for “green,” or sustainable, computing has since grown over the years, hand in hand with the increase in the number of companies and the massive use of technology.

The 4 factors for green computing

That of “green IT” or sustainable IT is a broad concept, affecting not only those who design and manufacture computers and peripherals, but also all those who use these tools. In this sense, 4 factors of green IT can be identified:

  • Green design: it will be increasingly necessary to design computers, servers, printers and all other technologies so that they are energy efficient and environmentally sustainable;

  • Green manufacturing: the production of PCs and, more generally, electronic components, must also minimize environmental impact through the use of alternative energy sources and waste reduction;

  • Green use: it is important to use computers in an environmentally friendly way, striving to decrease electricity consumption through special functions of PCs (power saving, “hibernation” or “sleep” mode);

  • Green disposal: in order to dispose of technological devices that can no longer be used, appropriate recycling procedures must be adopted, in an environmentally friendly and totally safe manner.

Read also: Green Finance on the rise: what is it and what are its benefits

When Green IT becomes an added value in the eyes of candidates

The issue of climate change and sustainability involves everyone. Showing sensitivity to the issue, for a company, can also lead to unexpected benefits.

Indeed, it is no coincidence that companies decide to communicate their “green choices”. Companies are fully aware that this is an added value that, as a result, can lead to an improvement in corporate reputation.

The decision to move toward more sustainable and less impactful solutions also serves to distinguish themselves from competitors and be more attractive in the eyes of applicants.

Millennials in particular are very concerned about the environment. And, according to the findings of a recent U.S. survey, it appears that 86 percent of them would even be willing to reduce their salary in order to work in an environmentally friendly company.

Attention to the environment on the part of IT companies is thus beginning to gain in importance. All this, not to mention that IT can also play an active role in environmental protection.

Just think of the instrumentation used to monitor land movements and changes. Or, more generally, of all technologies designed for the responsible use of natural resources and the protection of the environment from pollution.

Read also: Corporate sustainability: 6 environmental certifications useful for a company’s success

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