Forrester predicts there will be $6.85 bil spent on sustainability by 2013

A 2010 report by Forrester, entitled: “Capitalising on the sustainability consulting services opportunity” illustrated how the concept of sustainability has been emerging as the next driver of business innovation and growth for many companies. As such, IT managed service providers have taken significant steps forward in helping their clients grapple with issues such as green business processes, and corporate sustainability strategy and implementation.

Forrester’s projection for the sustainability consulting services market means a rising demand for IT-for-green and green business services over the coming years. By 2013, Forrester predicts $3 billion will go to green IT services, $2.4 billion will go to IT-for-green projects, and $1.49 billion will go to green business initiatives that include an IT component.

Karen Ferris from service management consulting company, Macanta Consulting, recently wrote on “Green IT is a widely talked about subject at the moment. Businesses are undertaking numerous initiatives to address the challenge of increasing power consumption, growing carbon footprint, not to mention increasing costs.

“What a ‘greener IT’ should be driving is not only a reduction in its own carbon footprint, but providing products and services to the rest of the organisation to enable it to reduce its carbon footprint,” she adds. “Most IT sustainability initiatives are internally focused and they need to become externally focused as well. They also tend to be operational initiatives and need to be strategic and tactical as well. This works hand-in-glove with IT service management initiatives, but is often ignored or thought irrelevant.”

As a solution, Ferris suggests that IT is also well placed through its service management framework.


So why are sustainability and a concerted approach to climate-change top of the CEO agenda all of a sudden?

The Coopers (PWC) 13th Annual Global CEO survey revealed that three out of five CEOs are preparing for the impacts of climate-change initiatives such as emissions trading, and cites reputational advantage is the leading driver of responses to climate-change initiatives.

Similarly, a recent Accenture study (called ‘A New Era of Sustainability’) revealed that 93% of CEOs believe that sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their business, while 72% cite “brand, trust and reputation” as one of the top three factors driving them to take action on sustainability issues.

An interesting finding was that 96% of CEOs believe sustainability issues should be fully integrated into the strategy and operations of a company, which was up from 72% in 2007.

Ferris points out that IT is focusing on technology to reduce the technology impact on the environment. “All this is fine, but it is a reaction to the growing carbon footprint rather than a proactive approach, which embeds sustainability into process and workflow to change behaviours and enable the required activities to become an ‘unconscious competency’.”

The ideal way in which to achieve this is through engaging with a service management provider.


Once the business has committed to green IT as far in as at business process level, it is vital to its success that this goal be integrated into all affected policies and strategies. Where services are outsourced to one or more partners, a sustainability policy needs to exist between all parties involved. If the sustainability of IT services is a strategic consideration – and it should be – negotiation with customers and business users must be guided by the sustainability policy.

SLAs should include environmental targets for both the business and IT, in addition to the more traditional ones such as availability, capacity and performance targets.