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21.04.16

Government sustainable IT strategy fails to help environmental impact

An environmentally friendly strategy for government ICT use has finished without being implemented in the majority of government departments, a new report has found.

The annual report into the Greening Government strategy, which was introduced in 2011 and is due to finish this year, found that only 10 out of 24 departments have submitted energy footprint assessments, vital for measuring the output of greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming.

It also said that only 14 departments have achieved Level 3 maturity in embedding the strategy and only six have achieved 10 or more key target outcomes from the road map.

In his foreword to the report Chris Howes, chair of the Green ICT Delivery Unit and chief technology officer of Defra, said: “Whilst we have now reached the end of this Strategy there remain opportunities and areas of challenge where we can reap further benefits from using ICT.”

It does celebrate some successes, however, including over 600 video conference installations, 156,860 redundant IT assets which were recycled and the increased use of cloud computing, although it admits that the exact impact of cloud computing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions is unknown.

It is deeply worrying that the best the government can do to tackle a crisis as urgent as global warming is implement more jargon-filled strategies and then fail to fulfil them. With experts warning that we face catastrophic extreme weather changes unless we switch to sustainable energy, the government need to fulfil the promises made at last year’s Paris climate change conference and put changes to the way we use energy at the heart of their strategy.

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