IT not yet cool enough to help reduce global warming

Thursday, October 29, 2009

With the crucial Copenhagen Climate summit approaching rapidly, IT heavyweights such as Google, Microsoft and IBM are still hesitating to speak up on the urgent need for emissions reductions, the latest Greenpeace Cool IT leaderboard reveals.

Companies are scored on their public support for strong emissions reductions as well as their economy-wide climate solutions and efforts to reduce their own emissions. IBM, HP and Fujitsu occupy the top three places in this round of assessments(1) but no company scores above 50/100. Google, a new addition, comes in at fourth position, scoring 32/100.

The Smart 2020 report (2), commissioned by the IT industry itself, clearly outlines how IT solutions have the potential to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by a remarkable 15% by 2020.

“Though the IT industry will profit from strong emissions reduction targets, it is not coming close to its potential of leading the way to a low carbon economy,” said Suzette Jackson, Greenpeace New Zealand communications manager.

“IT giants like Microsoft, Google and IBM need to rapidly put their weight behind a strong deal at Copenhagen or the climate will lose out  negative lobbying by dirty industries.”

IBM maintains top spot on the leaderboard due to an extensive range of climate solutions and action to reduce its own emissions but is only one point ahead of a much improved HP.

HP and Toshiba show strong progress by providing more comprehensive information on how their climate solutions can reduce global emissions. Dell, Nokia and Sony failed to show significant improvement in their scores since May 2009.

Sharp stands out as the only Japanese company to indicate support for a strong reduction target of the new Japanese Government. Panasonic is new to the leaderboard and can increase its score on several criteria for the next assessment.

"Google has clearly set out a plan for reducing emissions by 2030 but is has not yet spoken up on the need for a strong global deal at Copenhagen. The CEO of Ericsson has been making prominent speeches on the urgency of the problem and the importance of Copenhagen (3) but the leaders of Nokia, Dell, Microsoft and Sony, among others stay silent on the most urgent issue facing the planet." said Jackson.

“Apple’s recent bold move to leave the US Chamber of Commerce over the Chamber’s blocking of US government efforts to address climate change (4) contrasts strongly with Google, Microsoft and IBM’s relative inaction at this crucial juncture for the climate."

The next Cool IT leaderboard, with several new companies added in, will be released early 2010.

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