As environmental issues are becoming a major global concern, a new spotlight is lit on IT showcasing it as both a solution and a problem for environmental sustainability. As businesses and governments try to balance growth with environmental risks, we’re called upon to make our IT systems — and their use — greener, and to use the power of IT in innovative ways to address mounting environmental issues.

Green IT – environmentally sound IT – is the study and practice of designing, manufacturing, and using computers, servers, monitors, printers, storage devices, and networking and communications systems efficiently and effectively with zero or minimal impact on the environment. It includes the dimensions of environmental sustainability, the economics of energy efficiency, and the total cost of ownership, which includes the cost of disposal and recycling.

In addition to IT itself becoming green, IT can also play significant roles in creating a more sustainable environment in a number of ways. Thus, Green IT encompasses hardware, software, tools, strategies, and practices that help improve and foster environmental sustainability.

To raise awareness and support for Green IT initiatives, and to accelerate their adoption globally, the first International Green IT Awareness Week is celebrated around the globe 1-7 June, accompanied by a series of face-to-face and virtual seminars and networking events. This awareness campaign is designed to foster discussion on reducing the impact of IT on the environment and how it can be used to enhance environmental sustainability.

Cutter Consortium has been instrumental in addressing the issue of environmental sustainability and promoting Green IT through several of its publications. To create a better awareness of major developments in Green IT and to serve as background for further discussion and work in this area, we’ve assembled a collection of Cutter’s Green IT resources here.

Companies can benefit from being Green and can implement sustainable IT initiatives within their organizations to increase operational efficiency, reduce costs, and provide competitive advantage. Several real-life examples attest these benefits. Thus greening our IT products, applications, services, and practices is an economic imperative, as well as an environmental imperative. And, as many advocates will attest, it is our social responsibility as well.

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San Murugesan

Professor San Murugesan is a Senior Consultant with the Data Insight & Social BI practice and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Computing and Mathematics at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, and is an independent IT and education consultant.

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