21 September 2007
Public sector computer systems need to become greener and more efficient, cabinet office minister Gillian Merron said yesterday.
Speaking at the fourth European Ministerial e-Government Conference in Lisbon, the minister called on the UK Chief Information Officer's Council to reduce the carbon footprint of government computers and improve the sustainability of public sector IT.
Merron said: "Figures from industry suggest that worldwide, information technology is responsible for about 1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions each year - that's between 2 and 4 per cent of global energy."
The government is the UK's biggest IT purchaser, spending around £12 billion per year. Merron asked IT leaders to work with industry to find ways to improve the sustainability of government computer systems.
"This doesn't just mean reducing the amount of electricity they use, but also looking at how they can be designed and built in ways that consume fewer materials and which make recycling easier."
John Suffolk, the government's chief information officer, said: "There is real potential to deliver more sustainable IT that also costs less and provides better results for users. New technologies can help reduce energy consumption and allow more flexible working."
The Chief Information Officer's Council will now work with the Information Age Partnership to take a systematic look at how Government can work with the industry to put public sector IT onto a more sustainable footing. They will publish their initial report in 2008.