India’s Green IT And Sustainability Spending Set To Double By 2015


"Green IT" and "Sustainability" have long remained mere buzzwords despite the hype that they are critical for the corporate world globally. Where companies like Google have been doing their bit with Google Green.

In addition, a lot of U.S. companies have in the past few embarked on formal green initiatives  and have been trying to reduce the environment damage their products & services cause directly or indirectly.

Even though there hasn’t been too much press about the participation of Indian companies towards Green IT or sustainability, Gartner predicts that Indian Green IT and sustainability spending is set to rise significantly in the next few years,

By 2015, India’s spending on green IT and sustainability initiatives will double from $35 billion in 2010 to $70 billion in 2015

In plain speak, this means that the spending on Green IT and sustainability initiatives will double in the 5 year period from 2010-2015. Gartner says that ICT organizations in India are and will continue to be at the forefront of Green IT and sustainability initiatives followed by Banking & Finance sector, hospitality, manufacturing (such as automobiles), pharmaceuticals etc.

There have been some talk around initiatives in Green IT and sustainability in India especially with Green building initiatives and there are a few worthy companies developing environment friendly products. IT companies have been vocal about optimizing their data centers and making them more energy efficient. With cloud computing gaining traction, energy efficiency of data centers is expected to see a further boost. However, when it comes to sustainability i haven’t really seen any company actually making significant inroads expect for publishing sustainability reports to woo investors.

Will Incentivizing Companies Help Green IT and Sustainability Initiatives?

The numbers predicted by Gartner might be up to the mark but i personally feel that the current market dynamics do not suggest increased spending on Green IT and sustainability initiatives. Typically, any decent Green IT initiative such as green building etc. involves significant upfront investment and the payback time is around 5-6 years.

In present scenario, where companies are focused on maintaining their quarterly numbers asking for environment friendly investments might not seem prudent. Indian stock markets are not forgiving and companies (especially IT companies) need to save every bit of penny they can to maintain their profit margins.

I wonder if Incentivizing companies in some way could further the Green IT and sustainability programs. Currently,  Carbon Credits do exist wherein companies can cash in their accumulated carbon credits. However, i am not aware of any additional incentive mechanisms that exist in the market.

Imagine suppliers making Green IT and sustainability a mandatory parameter in the vendor scorecard which would basically imply that vendors with Green IT programs in place get preference over other vendors who don’t.

Gartner report does mention that export driven sectors will drive Green IT and sustainability initiatives which could mean that something like this already exists. Green IT and sustainability are not mere "good-to-have" buzzwords anymore, the environmental concern is as real as it gets.

One way the Government could ensure more investments towards Green IT from Indian companies could be is to ask the companies to include their Green IT and sustainability scorecard (a record of what they have done and the resultant savings) and if all other factors are same, contract is award to a company which fares better on Green IT and sustainability initiatives

What are your thoughts on Indian Green IT and sustainability spending? Are you aware of any major initiatives adopted by Indian organizations?

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