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ICT Firms Slow to Adopt Sustainability

IBM, Fujitsu, HP, Cisco and BT ranked in the top five positions in an assessment of 28 global information and communication technology (ICT) providers, according to a new report by Gartner and WWF Sweden. The report also reveals that Verizon and Lenovo did not score well, ranking No. 19 and No. 17, respectively, while Microsoft, ranked No. 13, is making some progress.

The assessment also reveals that the ICT industry sees climate change and sustainability as an emerging opportunity with the industry falling short of making climate change and sustainability part of its core business.

“We now have a clear group of market makers formed by BT, IBM, Cisco, Ericsson, HP, Fujitsu, and SAP who we believe are beginning to build a distinguishing capability,” said Simon Mingay, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement.

“However, at this stage they have not really taken the issues associated with climate change and sustainability into the core of the business and their strategies, and they continue to deal with it within the mindset of incremental improvement and short-termism,” Mingay added

Mingay provides additional information about the report in a video.

Gartner and WWF invited 28 global ICT providers to participate in the survey. Nineteen companies provided the required information. These include Accenture, Alcatel-Lucent, BT, CSC, Cisco, Dell, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Lenovo, Microsoft, SAP, Sun Microsystems, TCS, Verizon, Wipro and Xerox.

The survey reveals that service and software providers have improved their position compared to 2008, but remain relatively immature in terms of both their internal programs, as well as their market offerings, say researchers. EL reported on the 2008 assessment that also indicated that ICT providers were slow to embrace a low carbon economy.

However, some companies are making headway. As an example, researchers say SAP, ranked No. 8, did substantially better than any of the other large software and services organizations, and Fujitsu, ranked No. 2, is the only ICT provider to set a long-term goals for its initiatives, and wants to help reduce more emissions in society through low carbon IT solutions.

Another finding shows that ICT providers in Asia (not Japan) are still lagging overall, but are making some dramatic improvements.

The survey also finds that inter-industry partnerships are starting to emerge, particularly from ICT providers including Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent and IBM. Researchers say this is a very significant step in ICT’s ability to develop commercially viable solutions for a low-carbon economy, particularly around smart grid, intelligent buildings and smart city infrastructures.

As an example, a number of recent partnerships are helping to promote and accelerate the smart-grid industry including partnerships between IBM and NV Energy as well as Cisco and Itron.

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