Nearly 80% of IT products on the market have no green measure or accreditation, according to research by technology services provider, Probrand. The news qualifies the challenges IT buyers face when under pressure to buy more sustainable and efficient IT products in line with government moves to green UK business with CO2 savings of 32% by 2020.
In ongoing IT trend research by Probrand across 150,000 IT products from 110 manufacturers covering 22 different product categories, only 22% were found to have any official environmental standard. Of the 22% that had official green accreditations, 42% were represented by desktops and servers, 36% notebooks, 17% monitors and 10% printers.
In terms of the average number of accreditations against each product by category, desktops and servers alongside monitors performed best with two or more measures to qualify their green credentials. Notebooks carried an average of only one accreditation per product. All other categories fell below that level.
The research has also highlighted that there is no single standard associated with sustainability and the measures that do exist are inconsistent in their approaches. However, Energy Star does feature as a standard that appears as part of all measures.
Whilst all are credible in their own right, measures like Blue Angel, EPEAT and the governments own Quick Wins, each inconsistently consider and weight credentials like documentation on recycled paper, chlorine free packaging, halogen free cables, energy consumption etc.
In addition, none of them consider the lifecycle of the product or the impact of the supply chain through which a product is delivered. This is becoming increasingly critical in assessing a products overall sustainability and application within globally responsible business. An area that the BSI hopes will be tackled by its PAS 2050 measurement for embodied greenhouse gas emissions.
But with *research by IT procurement portal www.theITIndex.co.uk finding that IT managers believe their roles are being marginalised as a result of spending too much time on IT buying and administration tasks, time pressured buyers clearly have little head space to research and understand each measure for green purchases.
Gary Price, Business Analyst at Probrand, said: Business is under pressure to green IT at the same time as acknowledging that greener IT is an operational cash saver. There is clearly motivation for adoption. However, our research has perhaps unearthed a three sided barrier to swift adoption. Fundamentally, not enough products have a green accreditation and of those that do it is very challenging to compare between products or benchmark.
There is no consistent industry measure for sustainability and of the measures that do exist, there is little understanding. Furthermore, of the green related product information that does exist it is rarely provided to the IT buyer in an easy to digest fashion.
If buyers cannot get green product credentials or data that is easy to understand and digest then there is little hope of adoption of genuinely sustainable IT.
There needs to be a dynamic shift in the marketplace. IT manufacturers have their hands tied when considering which of the myriad costly assessments they should apply to products. Of course, many IT products exceed all existing measures but they simply havent been assessed. Governments need to incentivise an industry wide drive for manufacturers to conduct green due diligence on products as demanded by IT buyers.
This information then needs to be marketed and provided to the buyer in digestible parcels so they can view green credentials alongside price, stock and spec for benchmarking comparisons. This will in turn stimulate greater understanding of what defines a sustainable IT product.
If manufacturers could provide more assessed products to market that buyers can acknowledge and understand as being green, then this will help drive green IT and associated savings through to business. But only a collective industry wide effort will facilitate this move.