Microsoft: Top IT Sustainability Trends for 2014
Microsoft's chief environmental strategist offers a glimpse at the software giant's environmental priorities as he predicts an even bigger year for green IT.A new year offers new opportunities for environmentally friendly technologies, and Microsoft is constantly scanning the horizon for ways to advance its efforts to help drive the industry toward a greener path and lessen the impact of its own operations, according to Robert Bernard, chief environmental strategist for Microsoft. Bernard said in a blog post that his company has identified "a handful of themes that we see taking shape that are likely to dramatically transform the role of ICT [information and communications technology] in sustainability." Those themes provide a peek into areas, beyond green data centers, that Microsoft is watching and perhaps intends to invest in. Citing Microsoft's progress on environmental issues, including initiatives like the company's first renewable energy power purchase agreement and internal carbon fee, Bernard said he feels his company is "still just scratching the surface." 2014 may shape up to be the year Microsoft, and the industry at large, makes big strides in pushing sustainable ICT. Topping Bernard's list is green ICT's heightened profile in 2014. ICT will finally arrive "as a sustainability strategy for enterprises," asserted Bernard. Despite "significant advances in the breadth and effectiveness of solutions built on cloud computing" last year, mainstream adoption failed to materialize. That will soon change at big companies. "2014 will see the beginning of the transition from early adoption to mainstream use of ICT-based solutions," he said.
Renewable energy will also become more commonplace. "Despite expiration of some tax incentives here in the US, demand for green energy will only continue to grow," stated Bernard. Decisions to buy green energy are being increasingly driven by "by procurement departments, and not sustainability departments," he said.