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Green IT: sustainable communications and information technology

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Computer mouse on grass next to flowers

Information technology is becoming sustainable. Green IT is the latest buzzword being promoted by computer manufacturers with the aim of making communication greener.

Computers, laptops and mobile devices – information technology (IT) is not only a booming economic sector but also an energy-intensive one. It accounts for 2% of human greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, as evidenced in a study by Global Action Plan, a UK-based environmental organisation. This figure can be reduced if the green segment, or Green IT, continues to grow. Sustainability is already a dominant trend in the sector.

There are several questions to be asked here, for instance: Is a device manufactured in an eco-friendly manner? Is it energy efficient? Can it be recycled easily? Does it have a long lifecycle? In other words, it is all about good materials, low energy consumption, and cash that each and every consumer can save, thanks to more efficient, longer-lasting products.

SUSTAINABILITY RANKING FOR THE IT SECTOR

There is still no international or European label for Green IT products. Some companies such as Sony Ericsson (‘Green Heart’) have developed labels, but it is difficult to check their quality. A Greenpeace ranking provides some guidance: the Guide to Greener Electronics evaluates 15 large IT companies according to how good their products are for the environment. US-based manufacturer Hewlett Packard currently heads the list, with Blackberry manufacturer RIM coming in last. Apple is ranked 4, receiving good marks for recycling but poor marks for energy consumption.

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