A recent assessment of 17 global IT companies by Greenpeace reveals signs of climate leadership and penalises inaction within the sector, which it believes could transform the market for clean energy.
The IT industry is in a unique position to transform how we generate and use energy, Greenpeace says, but to lead, it will have to become advocates for strong government policies that will change the rules of the game away from benefiting the fossil fuel sector.
“The most forward looking IT companies scored higher because they recognise that they will gain from a low carbon world,” says Greenpeace energy policy analyst, Gary Cook.
“The sector is happy to talk about its potential to lower carbon emissions by 15% by 2020, but thus far, IT companies are still taking an incremental approach instead of providing transformative solutions at the scale and speed for which they are known.”
He adds that the corporate sector, and particularly IT, must work today to change the status quo and intervene at important junctures to speak up for strong climate and energy policy.In this edition of the Cool IT Leaderboard, the overall leaders were, in descending order, Cisco, Ericsson, and Fujitsu.
Cisco is recognising a clear opportunity by making IT climate solutions an increasingly core part of its business strategy, the report shows. “This, in turn, gives them a strong incentive to advocate for policies which reduce carbon pollution.”
This separation between IT climate leaders and laggards is clear in the Leaderboard's Advocacy scoring, says Greenpeace.
Sony Europe joined Google to support the EU's attempt to establish an ambitious target of 30% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2020, while Microsoft, Intel, and IBM received a negative advocacy penalty for being part of Business Europe's opposition to this target, the study found.
Also, Google, with support from Cisco and HP, helped to successfully counter California's Proposition 23 ballot measure, a failed attempt by oil interests to derail the state's landmark global warming law, known as the 'California Global Warming Solutions Act.'
“Fujitsu scores high marks for its presentation of twelve specific climate and clean energy policy recommendations to the Japanese government, which is considering a law to reduce greenhouse gas emission 25% below 1990 levels by 2020, while the rest of the Japanese IT companies remained silent, therefore receiving negative advocacy penalties,” Greenpeace states.
The IT trade lobby, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association, opposed this draft legislation.
“Polluting companies continue to dominate policy debates and protect the status quo, blocking a transition to a clean energy economy,” says Cook.
“To prevent climate change and kick-start a clean energy future, we need action from all sides – from a global climate deal decided by the governments represented in Cancun, to genuine climate leadership in the business sector.
“Everybody must join this race to the future.”