Corporate Social Responsibility – and specifically green IT – is one of those terms lots of people are talking about but still seems to be 101 of 100 on the real to-do list of the CIO. But let’s just go with this for a moment especially in light of Ron’s recent blog.
It’s not just about switching the PC off at night of course – the end-end environmental cost through design, production, use and de-commission all needs to be factored in.
But perhaps UK’s Manchester City Council is providing a hint of things to come.
It’s working as part of a UK government initiative to reduce carbon emissions from energy production by reducing the energy requirement of personal computers by 98%.
The “green PC” service works by hosting functions such as office applications on data centres rather than on individual computers – but with the real evolution being that the centre is powered specifically by renewable and non-fossil fuel. Interesting enough from a consumer perspective but let’s think where the trend might lead us to in the corporate world for a moment.

Connect the rise of dedicated data centres using low emission energy sources, emerging carbon trading and tax considerations, and the rise of SaaS and I don’t believe it’s too far a stretch of the imagination to think of the Green agenda making SaaS even more of an economic reality.
For once the CFO and the users might have a beautiful connection – applications users want that work with the Web model, and that are genuinely cheaper and not only that, potentially future tax efficient.
The death of the PC, e.g. in 2001 and more recently, has been talked about for some time. And for sure this doesn’t signal the death – but it’s a future economic reason why its ubiquitous nature is perhaps not so assured.
And if I was Google Apps (and indeed the rest of the SaaS market) I’d be wondering whether my future just might be very bright, and very Green.