ICT Sector slow in demonstrating climate leadership

IT organizations fare poorly; score less than 33% in Greenpeace Cool IT Challenge

Press release - May 27, 2009
BANGALORE, India — Despite having a massive capacity to cut greenhouse gas emissions the IT industry is not yet delivering on its potential according to the first results of the Greenpeace’s Cool IT Challenge(1). The IT industry calculates that it could enable more than 15% cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020(2). The Cool IT scorecard was released coinciding with the IT, Environment and Climate Change Conference(3) being held in Copenhagen today.

'CUT CO2' lights up the face of the Le Meridien hotel in the heart of the capital calling for urgent action to fight climate change. This was part of Greenpeace’ campaign to urge government, industry and citizens to cut CO2 emissions to save the planet.

Greenpeace's Cool IT Challenge was kick-started in February this year, asking CEOs of the major IT companies on their companies' specific actions prioritizing climate change. In the report card, scores have been given based on their responses to specific requests(4) which urge them to show leadership by;

  • Providing IT solutions and accurately measuring impact of the solutions they propose for the rest of the economy
  • Lobbying for a strong climate deal in Copenhagen that would create a stimulus for an increase in demand for IT-driven climate solutions by the rest of the economy
  • Reducing their own emissions and increasing their use of renewable energy

Leading the score(5) table was Sun Microsystems, which has publicly advocated for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 and at least 25% reduction (below 1990 levels) by 2020. IBM is joint top of table due to its wide range of solutions. Interestingly, Fujitsu openly addresses the need to measure "net" emissions reductions that result from solutions they propose for the rest of the economy. But leading names such as HP, Microsoft and Sony are amongst other IT giants who score less than 15 out of the maximum of 100.

All the IT companies ranked in the report fared poorly on demonstrable climate solutions for the economy despite their claims. Recent studies suggest that the ICT sector's services and products could cut the world's emissions by an estimated 15% when applied in industry, buildings, transportation and power sectors. "This would not only save the world from a climate catastrophe but also enable India to become an "energy secure" country. Today, the ICT sector has the opportunity to walk the green talk and become heroes in the fight against climate change", said Vinuta Gopal, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace.

At a time when Indian industries are facing severe global meltdown, efficient energy solutions are the only viable answer to such a crisis. "The ICT sector needs to look beyond just cutting its own emissions and must deliver on its potential to provide far-reaching climate business solutions for the rest of the economy", said Abhishek Pratap, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace.

The ICT sector has already taken responsibility and is cleaning up its act by tackling the e-waste problem in India. Pratap called upon the ICT sector to show similar vision and will to take a strong stand in tackling the impending climate change catastrophe. "CxOs should open and go through gate to welcome this business opportunity rather than remaining watchmen", signed off Pratap.

Similar to Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics6, the Cool IT Challenge scorecard will be updated regularly, with the second edition due in late summer. The Cool IT Challenge is open to all the big names in the IT industry that are able to show real climate leadership.

For further information, contact

Ankur Ganguly, Communications Manager, +91.9845373818,

Syed Mehaboob, Communications Officer, +91.9731301983,

Abhishek Pratap, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace India, +91.9845610749,

Vinuta Gopal, Climate Campaigner, Greenpeace India, +91.9845535418,

Notes to Editor