Green IT and net zero
As the professional body for the IT industry, BCS is committed to playing its part in tackling the climate emergency.
We have formally adopted the drive for net zero and the promotion of green IT as one of our four organisational policy and campaign priorities.
BCS will promote green IT as a way to understand the challenge, for example through data science. We will also explore sustainable IT’s place in achieving net zero solutions.
According to The Royal Society’s 2020 report, Digital technology, and the planet: Harnessing Computing, ‘to achieve net zero nearly a third of the 50 per cent carbon emissions reductions the UK needs to make by 2030 could be achieved through existing digital technology’.
Green IT and net zero mission
Rashik Parmar, CEO of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said: “As COP27 starts, world leaders must understand that we can only achieve Net Zero with the help of digital technologies and – crucially – scientists, engineers and managers with the right skills. We need a global talent pool of data science professionals to help us understand what the data is saying, supported by universal data standards that build trust and confidence. In addition to these specialists, all organisations need people with the digital skills to commission, build and manage carbon accounting and carbon removal systems and embed them into everyday business practice. IT Leaders should continue to do everything they can to minimise environmental impact by using frameworks like responsiblecomputing.net."
What is BCS doing?
We publish opinion and thought-leadership from a diverse range of voices bringing ethical perspectives, professionalism and technical insight to the climate change challenge.
We are consulting across our membership community of IT professionals to gather their views on potential innovations and actions such as:
- Open data
- Green data centres
- Maintenance, reuse and recycling of electronic waste
- Home working
- Sustainable adoption of cloud infrastructure
- Carbon transparency reporting for organisations
- Restrict ‘proof of work’ cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin
Green IT survey - October 2021
Our most recent survey, conducted between 4–11 October 2021, with 1124 member responses generated a number of priorities concerning green IT.
- Ending device waste was the most popular response when asking our members which tech related actions government and the sector should address immediately.
- After e-waste (top of the poll with 30%), IT experts chose carbon transparency reporting (19%), followed by making data centres truly ‘green’ (14%).
- Granting rights to home working to reduce carbon emissions followed with 13%.
- Restricting ‘proof of work’ cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which have a large environmental impact, polled at 12%.
This report was generated on 11/10/21.
John Booth, Vice-Chair of our Green IT Specialist Group, a reviewer for the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (EUCOC) programme led our most recent webinar on the role of tech in climate change.
Our Barefoot Computing programme supports primary schools teachers to deliver the computing curriculum brilliantly, for example with free learning resources and workshops. We have released new materials for teachers and schools to become climate change champions ahead of COP26.
BCS’s Society Medal recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to promoting IT’s role in Society. Our 2021 award is focused on green IT. We are currently in the process of reviewing nominations and will be announcing the winner shortly.
A community of IT professionals and enthusiasts who are passionate about green IT; Anyone interested in the sustainable use of computing can come to a meeting across the UK where everyone is welcome, members and non-members alike.
The Green Apprenticeship Advisory Panel has identified existing apprenticeships, including 12 of the standards offered by BCS that best support green career pathways.
According to a recent BCS survey, cutting global electronic waste must be a top priority for COP26. Here are some key statistics from the survey:
Green IT: Create your own event
October 2021 - March 2022
BCS members and others interested in this area, are invited to use the resources below to create their own events around the challenges and opportunities for IT in the drive to net zero.
- Green IT event package guidance (PDF)
- Green IT and net zero event presentation (PPT)
- Green IT event response template (MS-Word)
- Green IT event social media posts (MS-Word)