Retailers are pulling out all the stops to uphold sustainability, but online and e-commerce companies have big ecological opportunities in front of them through enhanced efficiency in computing systems and practices.
This was the message from “IT Sustainability Imperatives in Internet and eCommerce Business,” a report released by The Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum and its Global Renewable Energy and Environmental Network (GREEN). The study polled 275 executives from e-commerce and Internet businesses. (Retailers accounted for 33% of the respondents; 22% were Software-as-a-Service providers, and 20% were content aggregators. The other 28% were social networks, Internet service or search providers, and travel and photo sites.)
That e-commerce retailers seem to have less work ahead of them regarding carbon footprints and energy compared to traditional retailers would seem to be obvious. With no stores to maintain, they use less fuel and power.
What many companies don’t realize is these electronic retailers have increasing data volumes and demands that rival their traditional counterparts, the study revealed. For example, pure plays, including eBay and
As traffic and computing demand increases, e-commerce companies struggle with how to reduce energy consumption in the data center. In fact, 60% of participating companies reported they are experiencing rising inefficiencies in their data centers. A majority of companies are currently allocating very little of their budgets toward green IT, however.
More specifically, 83% of companies spend 10% or less on green IT initiatives. Worse, 53% of companies blame this low commitment on a lack of organizational awareness of the business benefits.
The good news is many companies are demanding change. Approximately 60% of participating companies want their companies to provide more materials, programs and events to improve ecological thinking company-wide.
Some companies are even starting to dip a toe in the water. For example, 64% of companies are reducing the printing of faxes, reports and e-mails.
Almost 90% of companies are interested in server efficiency. This includes using virtualization technology to maximize output and facility space (47%), or simply consolidating server hardware to increase utilization, save space and reduce power consumption (45%).
For companies embarking on green initiatives, 57% reported that they have experienced power savings, and 35% have improved their energy cost control.