Circle Opinion

What is green information technology (Green IT) & why should businesses follow it?

Lee Griffiths


Climate change is an ever-growing problem, and the technology sector is unfortunately playing a substantial role in this. By 2040, this sector is set to account for 14% of the world’s carbon footprint, a massive uptake from the 1.5% it occupied in 2007. Understanding how businesses operating within the technology sector can analyse and reduce their carbon footprint and leverage green information technology (also known as green IT) practices is critical. So, what exactly is green IT and how will this shape the future of this sector’s carbon footprint?

This is the first part of a 4-blog series on Green IT. In future posts, we will discuss how businesses can use green IT to reduce their carbon footprint, choose the right cloud provider, and optimise algorithms for energy efficiency.

What is green information technology (Green IT)?

Green information technology (green IT) is the practice of using environmentally sustainable computing. It aims to minimise the effects of the technology space on global emissions to combat climate change. The concept originated from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 through a project called “Energy Star”, which identified products that were superior in energy efficiency and helped organisations choose products that would cut costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

Why is green IT so important?

Green IT will have significant impacts in areas beyond climate change, including:

Compliance to achieve net zero carbon emissions

Recent updates made to the Green Finance Strategy from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will ensure businesses continue to meet their green finance ambitions and standards. Climate change has remained a prominent consideration within this. The FCA recognises the importance of business’ resilience in collective action to achieve net zero carbon emissions, therefore, businesses are being held increasingly accountable for any climate-related actions.

Competitive advantage through ESG scores

Businesses worldwide have increasingly focused on achieving environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria to prove they have adopted good sustainability practices. ESG criteria assess a company’s environmental risks and potential harm to the environment. ESG scores are calculated for individual businesses based on relative performance within the company’s sector (for environmental and social) and country of incorporation (for governance). Businesses that receive a positive ESG score are ultimately more attractive to customers and investors.

What can your business do to follow Green IT best practices?

While the UK is considered the second most environmentally friendly country in the world according to the 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), ongoing environmental challenges call all organisations to continue to innovate and act.

Businesses may be daunted by the fact that an eco-conscious development strategy is not easy, cheap, and will not happen overnight. Technology solutions can also be highly complex, with many parts to manage and design, which can also complicate the ability to determine the impact the solution may have on climate change. Setting policies and best practices for a business to follow is a good first step, and everyone in the business must bear some level of responsibility to help drive green IT, from the CTO to the engineers and architects.

There are several key takeaways that the wider business should consider to effectively implement and follow green IT best practices, most notably:

Demand for the information and technology sector is only going to increase, making it a massive contributing factor to climate change.

Embed green methodologies and practices into the software development lifecycle to set clear goals to help mitigate carbon footprints.

Make informed decisions on what tooling and infrastructure is going to be utilised.

More research and innovation need to happen, especially in cloud computing and analytical developmental tools.


This blog is part 1 of a 3-part blog series exploring the topic of Green IT. You can read the other 2 parts by following the below links:

To learn more about green IT and how your business can adopt these best practices, contact us today.

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Lee Griffiths