U.K.-based Sparxent via its Verismic Software subsidiary that has some good advice on identifying promising green technologies in IT and at the same time avoiding greenwashing. Verismic Software develops solutions including power management to extend systems management and service desk capabilities.
Verismic recommends looking for green solutions which meet the following criteria:
1. Measurable eco-benefits. A number of technologies promise a reduction in CO2 emissions or other green benefits, but customers often have no way to actually measure the result. In any new market, there are vendors willing to ride the hype and promise benefits that are hard to quantify after implementation. Before making a purchasing decision, don't just rely on vendor estimates. Be sure to ask the vendor how the actual benefits will be measured and how you will be able to demonstrate your investment return.
2. Simple to configure and manage. IT managers are acutely aware of the need to keep administration overhead costs low and green solutions should be no exception. Some green technologies can help reduce an organization's carbon footprint, but require extensive resources to manage. IT professionals should delve past the presentation layers to identify technologies that are simple to configure and maintain over time, as well as those which will be most compatible with the existing infrastructure. The best solutions are often designed with automated management features built into the product.
3. Purpose-built versus peripheral add-ons. Solutions designed and built from the ground up with the goal of reducing an environmental impact often perform at a higher level than products with green components added as an afterthought. If a solution claims to address a number of pain points for IT - including a reduced carbon footprint - buyers should be suspicious. Field experience confirms that environmental considerations should be the primary factors in product development to ensure quality.
4. Technology versus vendor. Because this is an emerging new market, solutions and their performance differ vastly between vendors. IT managers should carefully evaluate the technology itself, understanding there are many innovative solutions new to the market which can help them achieve their eco-goals. Early innovations often come from smaller, nimble entrants to the market since established may be more complacent or approach with green technology as an afterthought.
5. Existing products relabeled as "green." There are many technologies which have been on the market for some time which are now being marketed as green solutions (for example, teleconferencing.) These repackaged technologies were developed to solve other problems and are not truly designed to bring the most value to the overall goal of reducing carbon footprint. While these products may provide benefits, they are often more market-friendly than eco-friendly.
[OK: comment here. That point can be applied to most any method and solution that has been around for at least 10 years i.e. before the advent of 'green' branding, marketing, and markets.
Energy saving/waste-limiting methods have been around since there has been energy and waste. What matters are the merits. Do these solutions actually cut down on resource consumption and result in less garbage being chucked into the environment whose consequences we pay for in more ways than one?]
"The green IT industry has exploded in recent years and navigating these waters has become increasingly complex for IT professionals who are concerned about reducing carbon emissions," said Mark McGinn, managing director at Verismic. "We believe every vendor should ensure their products truly deliver both tangible and measureable benefits for the environment before they carry the green label. In addition, customers should be savvy in their selection criteria to maximize their eco-investments and avoid being 'greenwashed'."