Despite a growing awareness that environmental concerns will impact their future IT operations, the vast majority of large companies have yet to build "green IT" requirements into how they buy and use technology, according to a new report by Forrester Research.

The analyst survey of 124 IT operations and procurement professionals in North America and Europe found that, while 85% said environmental factors are important in planning IT operations, only a quarter said they have written green criteria into their company's purchasing processes.

“Our customer survey and interviews provide a directional view into the nascent green thinking of enterprise IT organisations," said Forrester Research senior vice-president, Christopher Mines. "We heard two reasons why green matters: efficiency and corporate responsibility. Most IT decision-makers told us that a green purchase would only happen in the context of cost reduction. These are hard-headed, ROI [return on investment] driven business decisions."

One chief technology officer at a manufacturing company reportedly told Forrester, "We would do green because it makes business sense, not because it's green. It would have to show cost savings."

The survey also found IT buyers want to hear more about vendors' efforts to design and market more environmentally responsible products and services. Only 15% of the IT professionals surveyed said they have a high level of awareness of vendors' green initiatives and most said they were hearing little or nothing from top-tier vendors about green solutions. But most respondents said they expected green to impact their purchasing decisions in the future.

"Technology marketers today will find increasingly receptive audiences for green evangelism," said Mines. "Slowly, that receptiveness will translate into action on the part of enterprise IT organisations."

The Forrester report "Tapping Buyers' Growing Interest In Green IT" also includes recommendations for technology marketing professionals on how to better tap into IT buyers' growing awareness and activity around environmentally responsible products and services. The report can be purchased directly here.

For more articles on green IT see:

Becoming eco-friendly

Power play