CIOs may be 'double counting' carbon

Research undertaken among 100 UK CIOs companies employing more than 1000 people reveals that 76 per cent believe that the carbon footprint of outsourced IT operations should still count towards the overall footprint of their organisation.

However, the research’s sponsor Fujitsu believes that many senior decision-makers responsible for IT are in the dark as to the extent and responsibility for carbon emissions from IT operations.

While approximately the majority of those polled feel that the emissions from outsourced IT operations should still count as part of their carbon footprint, 24 per cent believe the opposite, and expect the contracting company to become responsible.

Current advice on how and what to include in carbon footprint calculations can be confusing, and this research suggests that many are erring on the side of caution, preferring to double-count rather than risk understating environmental impact.

The research also showed that significant numbers of IT departments are not yet even measuring the contribution of IT to their own organisation’s carbon footprint.

CIOs in the financial services sector were the most diligent with 68 per cent claiming to measure the impact of their department in this way. However, only 36 per cent of those in manufacturing and 32 per cent of those in retail, distribution and transport measured the impact of IT on the organisation’s carbon footprint.

“If outsourcers take on the carbon footprint of their customers, [then] we are presented with an interesting conundrum as a company,” believes Juliet Silvester, head of environmental programmes at Fujitsu Services. “Our carbon footprint will always grow as we grow. As we take on the IT operations of more customers so we add the carbon contribution of those operations to our own.”

Fujitsu’s research wasundertaken by Vanson Bourne in July 2008.

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