Cost and Environmental Concerns Push U.S. Business Leaders to Become More Energy Efficient
60 Percent Believe IT Can Transform How Their Companies Manage Energy Consumption
SAN JOSE, Calif. - As U.S. business leaders strive to be more energy-efficient in order to save money and reduce their companies’ impact on the environment, a majority believe information technology products can help their businesses become “more green,” according to a recent survey conducted by Zogby International for Cisco. The survey also found that nearly one in three U.S. business leaders believe their environmental strategies will be unaffected by the current economic downturn.
* More than half of U.S. business leaders say IT products can help their companies become more green. Considering their future information technology budgets and purchases, more than half (54 percent) say their companies will be much more likely to buy products that will help their efforts to become more green. Roughly a quarter (27 percent) say their companies will be less likely to purchase such products and the rest of business leaders (19%) are unsure about future purchases.
* IT can be transformative. Nearly 60 percent of American business leaders think information technology can be effective in transforming how their companies manage their environmental and energy concerns in the future, while three in 10 (29 percent) think it is not effective. Eleven percent say they are not sure.
* Nearly one-third of businesses say green strategy will not be deterred by economic conditions. Three in ten (29 percent) U.S. business leaders say their green strategy is fundamental to their business strategy and is unlikely to be affected by the economic downturn, while 15 percent say their green strategy has been largely shelved while they deal with the downturn. More than a third (36 percent) say that they have identified other strategies or that they are not sure how they will follow through with their green strategy given the current economic conditions.
* Many companies today still have no green strategy. More than two-fifths (45 percent) of U.S. business leaders say their companies have no green strategy to reduce costs and improve operations, while a sixth (16 percent) say that their companies’ green strategies are working, but that much more could be done. Fifteen percent say their companies’ green strategies are in their earliest stages and are only marginally effective.
* More than one in three (42 percent) of business leaders say their companies’ green efforts help differentiate themselves from the competition. While their companies’ environmental and energy-efficiency efforts are making them more efficient and are saving money, three in 10 (30 percent) say these efforts are only somewhat helping their businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Half (49 percent) say that their efforts have had some other effect or that they are not sure.
* In addition to IT being seen as a tool for business leaders, two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans would likely use information technology to enable them to remotely manage the energy consumption within their home, while a quarter (25 percent) would be unlikely to use such tools.
* The two surveys were conducted by Zogby International on behalf of Cisco from Dec. 19 through Dec. 22, 2008. For the general U.S. population survey, 2,000 Americans were sampled with a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points. For the survey of 1,190 business leaders and decision makers, which includes CXOs, presidents and business owners, members of boards of directors, the margin of error was 2.9 percentage points.
Recent estimates have quantified the total potential opportunity in using information technology to address environmental concerns. The Global e-Sustainability Initiative and the Climate Group released a report finding that information technology’s unique ability to monitor and maximize energy efficiency both within and outside its own sector could cut CO2 emissions by up to 7.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) by 2020, greater than the current annual emissions of either the U.S. or China. The economic impact could be equally as profound, upward of $800 billion globally.
“This survey demonstrates that U.S. business leaders see technology as a viable tool for addressing cost and environmental concerns, especially as they try to maximize their IT investments,” said Laura Ipsen, Senior Vice President and co-chair of Cisco’s EcoBoard. “Cisco believes that information technology has the power to transform how the world manages its energy and environmental issues in everything from the data center, to the enterprise, all the way to the Connected Home.”
“This survey shows that most Americans, including business leaders, are thinking about energy consumption, the related costs and their overall carbon footprint,” said Chad Bohnert, VP of Marketing and E-Commerce, Zogby International. “It comes as no surprise, in our modern world, that Americans are open to using technology to assist them in monitoring their energy consumption, in everything from business operations to homes.”
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