Comment : Are UK IT departments double-counting their carbon footprints?

Research undertaken among 100 chief information officers of UK companies employing more than 1000 people reveals that an overwhelming majority believe that the carbon footprint of outsourced IT operations should still count towards the overall footprint of their organisation.

However, IT outsourcing Provider Fujitsu Services, who commissioned the research, believes that this could lead to an over-statement of total carbon emissions.

It is believed that many senior decision makers responsible for IT are in the dark as to the extent and responsibility for carbon emissions from IT operations.

Whilst approximately three quarters (76%) feel that the emissions from outsourced IT operations should still count as part of their carbon footprint, almost a quarter (24%), believe the opposite and expect the contracting company to become responsible.

Current advice on how and what to include in carbon footprint calculations can be confusing and this research suggests that many are erring on the side of caution, preferring to double-count rather than risk understating environmental impact.

The research also showed that significant numbers of IT departments are not yet even measuring the contribution of IT to their own organisation’s carbon footprint.

CIOs in the financial services sector were the most diligent with 68% claiming to measure the impact of their department in this way. However, only 36% of those in manufacturing and 32% of those in retail, distribution and transport measured the impact of IT on the organisation’s carbon footprint.