End-users in the UK have set up a green group to cut through confusing advice from vendors, and publish best practices for sustainable IT.

“Currently, the advice available to IT directors and CIOs comes from technology vendors," said Trewin Restorick, the chair of the Environmental IT Leadership Team (EITLT), set up by environmental charity Global Action Plan (GAP), and sponsored by service provider Logicalis explaining why the new group is needed. "Although the intentions are good, the advice can be sometimes confusing and contradictory."

The eight-member group considered how to direct initial research into IT's environmental impact at its first meeting on Monday. "This green IT team will provide a forum to review vendors’ advice and government policy, cutting through the techy and political jargon to give practical advice for creating a sustainable IT structure," said Restorick. "The team will help peers put carbon reduction policies into practice and greatly reduce their environmental impact.”

EITLT has a dedicated programme manager provided by GAP, a charity which describes itself as focusing on practical action for a better world, which people can take in their everyday lives. Restorick is also director of GAP.

Green strategy groups in companies tend to ignore their firms' own IT people, despite the growth of green IT, and the contribution which IT can make to improving the environmental impact of any company, said Restorick.

Nor are end-user IT staff well-served when general pressure groups, such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, weigh in on green IT. GAP works with a business and not against it, he said.

“The remit and the direction of the Leadership Team will be shaped by the evolving challenges and concerns that CIOs face, as the IT department becomes the focus of carbon reduction strategies for many mid to large organisations," said Restorick. "I am confident that through debate, research and discussion, we can have a powerful impact on the way IT is purchased and implemented in the future.”

“This is a seminal movement for the IT industry and an opportunity for us to influence the future direction of IT in the UK," said Tom Kelly, managing director of Logicalis, a service provider which has ISO14001 environmental standard certification. "I am sure the group will help push forward new areas of development, in both technology and operational procedures.”

EITLT's eight members are invitees, to make the group manageable, according to Restorick. They include the British Medical Association (BMA), Sony UK, John Lewis Partnership, E.ON UK, CQS, the University of Cumbria and Lloyds TSB. These organisations were either known to GAP, or current and potential customers of Logicalis.

The group will have a second tier of members, acting as 'interested reviewers' of EITLT output, which will be widely disseminated to UK businesses.

Martin Kelmanson, the BMA's ICTS division head, said, “It will be a practical forum to share best practice with industry peers, suppliers and users to make a positive impact on the way IT organisations across the UK tackle climate change. It is an exciting step forward in our challenge to make our businesses green.”

Within the next three months, the group will meet again at the House Of Commons, to launch the initial research.