Over at the official Cebit blog Sascha is wondering about an exhibitors’s huge Humvee car (blog post in german) and whether some companies take “Green IT” really that seriously.

We wondered too. That’s why we – that’s me and our german-language blogger Frida – went to the so-called Green IT village at Cebit in hall 9.


And we have to admit that we are a little bit disappointed. Why?

Cebit announced a „tree of commitment“ at the Green IT village – you’ll recognize it if you have a very close look on the picture … No, indeed we like the tree and my german co-blogger Frida even did some treehugging, but the whole commitment to “Green IT” seems to be rather limited on Cebit.

When we heard “Green IT village” we expected a whole hall of greener IT solutions, like toxics-free hardware, or information about the problems with e-waste and recycling. But the Green IT village turns out just as an information booth by Cebit and partners on some “green” activities of Cebit exhibitors. Its main partner Bitkom, Germany’s ICT industry association, is exhibiting the energy consumption of 2003 office equipment (computer, printer, screen etc.) with up-to-date appliances. To no surprise, the modern equipment with for example a flat screen instead of a conventional CRT monitor consumes less electrical power.

Toxic chemicals, e-waste and the low recycling rate aren’t a big issue there. Many “Green IT” companies are exhibiting software and hardware technologies to reduce energy consumption in data centers. There, the search for less energy consumption is of course not mainly motivated by ecological reasons, but by financial reasons. The energy needed for the operation of data centers is meanwhile an important expense factor. The computer manufacturer Fujitsu Siemens also announced a zero watt screen which apparently does without an energy-consuming stand-by mode (it still consumes power while operated, of course). Thus, energy efficiency at least seems to be an important issue at Cebit. Very good!

By the way, we also found some little innovative and eco-friendly things in the award-winner exhibition of International Forum Design at Cebit. One of the product design awards was awarded for a product called USB-Cell – batteries which have an integrated USB port and can be charged without a special charger. I guess that's even quite handy for us blogging Greenpeacers while on the road having always a computer with us to charge these batteries for our cameras.

Nice steps towards a greener IT, but not yet “Green IT”. As a friend who comes regularly to Cebit said, apparently the Cebit operators (and/or their PR guys) did a good job in giving the impression that “Green IT” is the big thing at this year’s Cebit. But actually the “tree of commitment” is rather a small plant which has still to grow and should be watered and (organically) fertilized well by the big IT companies.