Green IT is part of a fundamental change in the economy and society. It is a subset of the larger green (or sustainable) business trend, which reconciles sustainable business practices with profitable business operations. In the IT industry, both suppliers and buyers are coming to realize that they should incorporate green principles into the design, manufacturing, operation, and disposal of IT assets. The impetus for this change comes from a variety of sources:
Government mandates. Regulators in the EU, the US, and elsewhere are aggressively policing aspects of IT products and operations, including toxic materials used in building computing gear, disposal of electronic equipment, and emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases caused by power consumption and other sources.
Energy efficiency. Companies buying more energy-efficient IT equipment get the dual benefit of lowering their utility bills while also reducing their carbon footprint. Server and storage virtualization, for example, can deliver considerable savings in energy consumption as well as decreasing physical waste.
Product and company differentiation. Banking on growing consumer demand for green products and services, some retailers have developed "sub-brands" with a green angle, such as Home Depot's Eco Options label. Increasingly, manufacturers across industries will use green products and green corporate behavior as a way to appeal to this growing segment of customers.
CSR. CSR initiatives enhance the brands of companies by helping them stand out as those that care about the communities they operate within. Going green is part of any CSR agenda because of the prominence of global warming concerns.