Strategic Reality or Feel-Good Myth?
Reynolds supported the pro-green IT view by detailing the risks to business of not adopting green IT. He said companies are doing more computing, requiring more gear and causing IT costs to balloon. This can threaten businesses' budgets. He also said governments will eventually impose taxes and penalties on companies that don't have good green IT policies. Moreover, supply chain partners and customers will demand that products they buy have lower carbon impact. This will start in the government, and will trickle down to consumer groups advocating green IT.In rebuttal, Caldwell continued Smulders' argument, but called green IT a myth made up by people that want to believe they are doing something good for the environment and by businesses that want a new way to sell more products. Don't fixate on such catchphrases as green IT, which people embrace with the fervor of religious converts; instead, focus on just conserving power, Caldwell said. Gartner debate moderator Brian Gammage polled the audience of about 60 people before and after the debate on whether or not they thought green IT mattered. Before the debate, 58 percent said it mattered and 20 percent said it did not. After hearing Smulders' and Caldwell's claims about the myths of green IT, 50 percent of the people polled said green IT mattered and 39 percent said it did not. Gammage also revealed that the research firm itself believes in green IT because it believes green IT can help companies reduce operational costs and reduce strategic risk related to climate change.
"You need to pay attention to green IT issues now and have plans in place to move yourself forward," Reynolds said. "If you fail to do so, you face serious risks in the next five years."