IT hardware manufacturers are making great strides in producing greener products in a more environmentally friendly manner, but challenges still remain in manufacturing, transport and disposal, according to new research by Capgemini.
The report assessed Capgemini partners HP, EMC, Sun Microsystems, IBM and Google, the latter being evaluated as a service provider rather than as a manufacturer.
All the vendors use at least some electricity from renewable sources during the manufacturing process, and endeavour to reduce the amount of water and increase the amount of recycled materials used.
Praise was given to IBM and HP for being members of the US government's SmartWay programme to improve the energy efficiency of, and reduce the greenhouse gases associated with, transport. Sun was also praised for taking back packaging after delivering its products.
However, the report highlighted key failings that still need to be addressed by these major IT vendors, notably the use of lead, mercury and some PVCs in certain products due in part to a lack of suitable alternatives.
Capgemini also found that the complex and highly specialised nature of IT supply chains means that products often travel across the globe before final assembly. The report recommended the creation of a standardised metric with which firms could measure the impact of logistics operations in the future.
"You would expect these large companies to be taking a lead in green IT and this proved to be the case in terms of the R&D dollars invested," said Brian Doherty, sustainability advisor at Capgemini.
"We found a huge amount of effort being made to make servers and processors more efficient, but most of them didn't have a good handle on transport and logistics."
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