IT departments shunned by firms' green initiatives

The survey of 345 C-level executives found that while almost 60 per cent either have a carbon reduction strategy in place or are in the process of developing one, almost half of these plans make no mention of IT.

The report found that senior executives recognised the potential IT has for cutting carbon emissions, identifying the role video conferencing, home working technologies and more energy efficient hardware could have in reducing emissions.

However, it also found that traditionally poor communication lines between the board and IT chiefs meant the IT department was often not involved in the development of carbon reduction plans with only half the organisations polled claiming the CIO is consulted.

Lloyd Salvage, vice president, Global Segment Marketing at telecommunications giant AT&T, which co-sponsored the report alongside networking giant Cisco, suggested that chief information officers (CIOs) and IT directors should be more vocal in promoting the environmental benefits IT can deliver.

"While the topic of green ICT has been high on the agenda in the ICT industry for some time, this report shows that the CIO has an important role to play in the development of a company's carbon reduction initiatives," he said.

Green IT programmes also represent a relatively easy means of delivering carbon emissions reductions, according to Robin Bew, editorial director at the Economist Intelligence Unit. "There is a lot of talk about reducing carbon footprints in today’s organisations, but not much action," he said. "Putting technology to work in this endeavour offers a simple, effective way to move from rhetoric to action."