Last week's European Green IT summit showed how much interest there was in the subject ... and at the same time how there is to go before green issues start penetrating the IT mainstream.
There was a healthy attendance at the event, demonstrating that there are some companies taking environmental issues very seriously and the fact that so many companies have a person in charge of sustainability or green issues (or some other similar name) is another indication that such thinking is slowly permeating corporate culture
Yet the Corporate IT Forum survey survey of managers revealed that companies would only adopt measures that helped the environment if there were a cost benefit. There are certainly lots of instances when the two would overlap. For example, measures such as turning off computers overnight would not only help the environment but would save on electricty - although as several contributions to a lively discussion indicated, this is no simple task. There might even be companies willing to consider a low energy printer or PC against a cheaper 'less green' model.
But the real crunch will come when companies stop tinkering at the edges and look to make real savings. Would they be prepared to forego company jollies, sorry sales conferences, in foreign parts and cut own on carbon emissions? Would they ditch PCs and opt for energy-efficient thin clients? Would they organise their electricity billing so that departments could be charged on what they actually consumer, rather than on a random allocation of costs? Would they examine teleworking as an option? Would they consolidate their servers? All of these measures would mean a radical restructuring of business and judging by the mood of the attendees at the conference, there's not yet the stomach for such change.