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CSC Targets Biggest CO2 Cuts of Any IT Service Giant

CSC and Atos Origin are the global IT service providers seeking the biggest annualized cuts in CO2 emissions, according to a report from independent analysts Verdantix.

The Carbon Strategy Benchmark: IT Services Sector report found wide variation in the absolute carbon reduction targets, baseline years and target end years of the 14 biggest IT service providers. While two of the providers had not set such goals, their competitors had set target reductions varying from five percent to 100 percent, over time spans from three to 22 years.

When Verdantix annualized the goals, it found that CSC was targeting the highest yearly carbon cut, at 8.3 percent (or 25 percent over three years). Atos Origin is targeting five percent per year.

Accenture and TCS have not set any absolute carbon reduction goals, but both have set relative goals. Accenture has set a target to cut CO2 intensity per employee 40 percent by 2012, against a 2007 baseline, and TCS is targeting a cut in CO2 intensity per employee of 5 percent by 2011, against a 2010 baseline.

Other companies analyzed in the report were BT Global Services, Capgemini, Fujitsu Services, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Infosys, Logica, Orange Business Services and Wipro.

These firms are pursuing a wide range of strategies for carbon and energy management, Verdantix found. They also have widely varying emissions levels. Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP and IBM are “carbon heavyweights” because of their manufacturing business units.

The country location of energy consuming assets like data centres, offices and telecoms networks influences carbon strategies, Verdantix found. Capgemini and Orange, with operations in nuclear-heavy France, have limited opportunities for GHG reduction. BT and Capgemini UK have more mature carbon management frameworks, Verdantix found, because the UK carbon policy agenda is the most advanced in the world.

“A complex mix of factors drive carbon strategies in the IT services sector,” Verdantix director David Metcalfe said.  “Many GHG targets were set in the pre-recession market without accurate data to validate commitments. The carbon and energy management strategies of global IT services firms are at different stages of maturity. Marketing and sustainability leaders are wrestling with the impact of the growth in cloud computing and data centre outsourcing services on their carbon footprint.”

“Our detailed analysis of the carbon disclosures, targets and strategies of fourteen global IT services firms reveals a market in transition,” said Janet Lin, senior manager in the Verdantix New York office. “Many firms in the sector consume more energy every year but claim to reduce their CO2 emissions by buying green tariff electricity or renewable energy certificates. This is a corporate marketing expense reminiscent of pre-recession corporate responsibility initiatives

“Executives should scrutinize the business value of spending on carbon strategies that achieve reduction targets without tackling energy consumption or energy efficiency,” Lin added.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Accenture and TCS had not set any carbon reduction goals. They have not set any absolute goals, but both have set relative goals, Verdantix says.

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