Information technology, or IT, is the set of processes and resources run/made available by electronic devices, and it has already become an essential part of modern life. In our personal lives, in the workplace and even in public services, many tasks are performed exclusively by means of computer use. Society as a whole has surrendered to the advantages brought by IT. All procedures are made easier and have become much more agile than in the past.
Thus, companies, realizing that their business information, human resources and finance, among others, are valuable and need to be interpreted, began to invest in IT solutions for more efficient and safe data management. However, the increasing development of physical devices (the machines themselves, the hardware), bring concerns and questions about the environmental impact that they cause.
Green IT is a concept aimed at solving this issue by means of the elimination or reduction of environmental impacts caused by the production and disposal of these devices in nature. This interest in sustainable technology has increased due to recurrent global calls from several environmental organizations such as Greenpeace for a better use of natural resources and management of waste generated by our activities on the globe. The growth of the interest in this concept can be seen in Google Trends, a research analysis tool conducted in the Google search engine for a particular word, and the tool forecasts that this trend will continue to increase.
Besides the environmental benefits, the Green IT actions can reduce the costs of processes and increase productivity, and thereby also the profits. Whatever the company size, investing in Green IT will generate a positive impact on the company. To better understand this concept, keep following!
Where Green IT is applied
Green IT can be applied in various sectors of society, including in our lives. Therefore, it is necessary to have a broader look at all the technological resources that make our everyday life, their life and the destination they will be given when they are no longer useful.
Companies that can make the greatest contribution to environmental protection by means of green technology are the IT companies themselves, which are generally those with the largest number of devices, such as data centers, and better understanding of their operation.
According to rankings released by Greenpeace, IT companies with greater participation in discussions and proposals on environmental preservation and sustainability, as well as the largest number of more environmentally friendly solutions and devices are:
The company that created the largest online content search engine currently stands out for its use of clean energy in its facilities and investment in policies to promote the development of renewable energy.
The giant in network and communications solutions is second in the ranking also by the use of clean energy, reducing carbon emissions across the whole business chain.
This company is active in discussions on climate and sustainability, having participated, represented by its CEO, in the Guadalajara ICT Declaration for Transformative Low-Carbon Solutions.
A Japanese company specializing in training technology, it has a Green IT plan with clear and ambitious goals, such as reducing carbon emissions by 30% per year by 2020.
The British multinational telecommunications company ranks fifth in terms of its even more ambitious goals for reducing carbon emissions — 50% per year by 2020 — and for being the only company that spoke up, as well as Google, in favor of the European Union proposal to reduce emissions.
But it’s not just IT companies that should be concerned about the use of Green IT. All companies, whether small or giant, and also the public sector, have much to contribute in the search for preservation of the environment by means of the adoption of more sustainable technologies.
Green IT in practice
There are many actions that can be put in place for the use of green technology. Many of them are quite simple to be implemented, while others involve more technical knowledge and resources. Consider the following key measures that can be adopted both by companies and by individuals in general.
Reduced power consumption
The Information Technology growth generates an increase of devices both from users and from providers. As an example we can mention the growth of cloud computing, which requires greater use of data servers on the World Wide Web.
All these physical resources need power sources to operate, and to minimize consumption, several actions can be taken, such as: server virtualization; acquisition of equipment from companies with quality in sustainability certifications; developing solutions via information technology to improve energy use and distribution, as well as being more aware of the resources and technological devices use.
Carbon emission reduction
The optimization of resources in order to increase performance with fewer facilities can greatly reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Also, it is important to reduce the use of paper and ink to print documents and also physical displacements, prioritizing virtual communication.
The companies infrastructure planning is also a key point for the use of more sustainable technology by means of Green IT. Caring starts in the floor plans, with a design that maximizes the distribution of devices and structures, so as to occupy the smallest possible space, to the use of renewable energies such as solar energy.
Reduction of technological waste
Technology is renewed and innovated every day. As a result, the manufacture of new items that support these innovations is needed. The Internet of Things is an evolution of information technology that systemically inserts new devices in the market. However, this process generates lots of electronic waste, because, as new technologies are emerging, the old ones become obsolete and are improperly discarded, damaging the environment.
Green IT in intent on informing about the responsibility and destination of outdated equipment: they can be recycled or donated to other companies and organizations for which they can be still useful, for example. Likewise, it seeks to develop technological devices with longer life, hoping to cause a drastic change in the current scenario of environmental pollution. Technology, with its dynamic character, can start the search for solutions that are not only more efficient but also more sustainable.