How green will IT go?

Greenpeace is asking IT vendors to prove their commitment to environmental issues, with a new campaign directed at the leaders of the industry

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By  Mark Sutton Published  March 17, 2009

Greenpeace is asking IT vendors to prove their commitment to environmental issues, with a new campaign directed at the leaders of the industry.

The environmental pressure group, which is already leaning on consumer hardware manufacturers over the 'greeness' of their devices, is now asking those companies that have raised the green flag to basically put up or shut up, and get involved in lobbying of governments and international organizations for action on climate change.

The group wants to get the IT industry on its side ahead of the Copenhagen climate talks, scheduled for December, to help with lobbying governments. 'Dirty' industries are already actively lobbying against stricter targets on climate change, says Greenpeace, so the pro-control side needs all the help it can get - and as the IT sector has been so quick to pin a green heart to its sleeve to sell products, Greenpeace thinks IT would be the ideal ally.

Greenpeace isn't stupid though. The campaign recognizes the vested interest IT has in energy efficient products and that they stand to gain from increased regulations. But it also appeals to the industry's sense of citizenship - something that many of the big vendors, especially the US-based vendors, have pioneered in business circles.

It's a clever tactic from a clever lobbying group - calling on the IT industry to actually back up its claims to being responsible corporate citizens and so on.

Climate change would join a big list of other issues that vendors claim an interest in, and lobby governments on, such as education, open source, scientific research, work visas, economic development and infrastructure roll out, but the environment is an issue that virtually all of the IT industry would appear to have embraced. Cutting carbon emissions and using renewable energy are already targets for some companies in the sector, but I think its well past time that the industry proves its green credentials, and commits to real environmental initiatives, both in the messages they put out in public, and in what they do behind closed doors with political leaders, where it really counts.

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