Green Computing has been a focus area for the global community for over a decade now. Our lives were fast transformed when IT invaded every sphere of our life. Initially it was assumed to be a medium with no adverse impact on environment. However gradually the misconception was removed. Now the global community including governments, corporate, social communities and individuals realize the significance and urgency of adopting green computing.
Global community and India
Many governments and corporate across the world have taken leadership roles towards green computing. A number of global consortiums/forums have been established. The keys to green computing such as Green Use, Green Disposal, Green Design and Green Manufacturing have been proposed by them. Green IT and E-governance policies have been enforced by governments across the globe. Industries, investors and policy makers are becoming more and more aware of the criticality of Green IT. Today the focus is not only on higher computing power, faster analysis etc. It is also on achieving energy efficiency, reduction of E-waste and using the computing resources efficiently. Governments and corporate leaders have jointly started working towards it. Many global corporates have put policies and practices that help reduce their companys environmental impact.
In 2005, 128 nations came together and signed the Kyoto Protocol and published their charter to reduce the GHG (Green House Gas) emission (Chuang and Huang, 2014). India is a signatory of UN Climate body, UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). So Indian IT companies have a huge responsibility towards the nation and the entire global community towards implementing green computing. The commitment made by India in October 2015 to UNFCCC , outlines action plans to reduce its emission by one third as compared to 2005 emission levels. Many initiatives have been taken up by the Indian government and other private bodies in this direction. National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) by Government of India includes Green IT in its strategy for reducing GHG emission. NASSCOM and TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) -business council jointly have started an initiative called Corporate Action Plan on Climate Change: ICT as a game changer (WBCSD, 2011). It tries to identify those sectors where ICT can play a significant role in reducing carbon footprint.
The task force formed by Government of India outlines specific recommendations for the Indian IT and telecom industry. It includes aspects like standardization, declaration of carbon footprint of their network operations to TRAI, having a Carbon Credit policy, getting tax incentives etc. Corporations have come up with implementation framework for the same. A few companies publish their report as well.
Initiatives by Indian government and corporates
To fulfill the commitment given to UNFCCC, the government of India has launched a number of initiatives in the country. The government regulations have been one of the drivers for Green IT in the industry. An expert group has been set up to formulate a roadmap on low carbon strategy. The recommendations from this group have been included in the twelfth five year plan of India. This shows the significance put by the Indian government to the Green IT initiatives (Chawla, 2012).
The recommendations include standardization of IT and Network equipment, cleaner and green data center standards, inclusion of energy consumption standards in all government purchases as part of green procurement policy and so on. It encourages organizations to invest in cleaner technology which can be a costly affair initially. So it also extends tax incentives to such organizations for funding cleaner technology.
The population growth, rapid urbanization and related constructions have caused concerns for the depleting natural resources and increase in energy consumption. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has made the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) mandatory for building designs and specifications for all new and renovated buildings. All the state governments have been mandated to implement the same by 2017 (Times of India, 2014).
The Ministry of IT and Communications have also put adequate focus on Green IT in their national IT, Electronics and Telecom Policy (Chawla, 2012). As per these policies all telecom service providers must declare the carbon footprint from their network operations to TRAI twice a year, all their products and equipment need to be certified as Green Passport, they have to adopt Renewable Energy Technologies for certain percentage of all the rural and urban mobile towers. The telecom service providers are encouraged to come up with their own code of practice of energy efficiency for their network and infrastructure planning. On doing so they will be given carbon credits in line with the governments carbon credit policy.
All the above initiatives and mandates by the Indian government have encouraged the Indian business houses to adopt green computing.
At the same time, the awareness about global environment changes and sustainability issues are growing among the Indian corporate. There is also a growing demand from investors and all other stakeholders to become environment friendly. The other main motivator is the reduced operating cost by adopting green technology.
As per the Gartner report Hype Cycle for Green IT and Sustainability in India, 2014, the Indian organizations are moving towards integrating their environment sustainability commitment with their core business. As per the analysts, the spending by government and private corporate houses towards Green IT would reach USD 34 billion in 2014 and USD 70 billion in 2015 (Gartner Inc., 2014).
It has been observed that although everybody believes that Green IT is important, so far very little has been actually implemented in this direction. In the year 2010, Fujitsu Australia published a report on Green IT Global Benchmark. It contains a multi-country benchmark to determine the maturity of Green IT practices and technologies in end user organizations across all industries in USA, UK, Australia and India. As per this report, the overall maturity level for these four countries is 56.4 and that of India is 52 only. So while coming to actual implementation, a lot remain to be achieved.
Chawla, R. (2012). Green IT Initiatives in India.
Gartner Inc., (2014). Gartner says India Green IT and Sustainability Spending To Reach $34 Billion in 2014. [online] Available at: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/archive/Gartner Says India Green IT And Sustainability Spending To Reach $ $34 Billion In 2014 [Accessed 8 Jun. 2016].
Green IT – The global benchmark, A REPORT ON SUSTAINABLE IT IN THE USA, UK, AUSTRALIA AND INDIA. (2010). 1st ed. Fujitsu.