Public sector IT can help drive sustainability development

With the global demand for a lighter carbon footprint, the public sector is in a position to shape sustainable practice policies, according to a Government Insights report, To Greener Pastures--Challenges and Opportunities for the Public Sector.

"Technology is a highly strategic tool to achieve wider objectives related to sustainability," said Fiona Kanagasingam, senior market analyst, Government Insights, IDC Asia Pacific.

This study draws on findings from IDC's 2008 Green Poll, a quantitative survey of CIOs, IT directors, and IT managers across multiple industries, including 113 public sector employees.

The study examines challenges to green IT adoption within the public sector and shows governments exactly how to leverage technology to achieve sustainable development. Survey findings suggest that awareness of green IT within the public sector is strong, but public sector adoption is uneven. 'Lean IT', which first and foremost reduces costs and carbon emissions, leads the public sector green IT agenda.

Government Insights emphasises the need for comprehensive transformations across the value chain. This means not just integrating green considerations into direct IT consumption, but also driving changes through public procurement, and the public sector's multiple roles as a regulator, large employer, and core business owner of diverse policy areas. This can range from primary industries and water resources to urban planning and transportation.

And public CIOs are in a strong position to drive all these, pointed out Kanagasingam. "They should seize the opportunity to shape the strategic and emerging policy agenda on sustainable development, by assessing and articulating how IT compounds, but also offers transformational solutions to reduce the carbon footprint," she said.