Sustainability in the I.T. Project Lifecycle

This was the title of a recent BCS Event in Leeds.  I’ve included some few key phrases from the information presented ostensibly to see what reaction they will generate.

We now know that the IT industry represents 2% of Carbon Dioxide  emissions worldwide, which is roughly the same as air travel.  However,  there is a case to be made for increasing the emissions from IT as this  will replace the emissions from other less sustainable activities,  primarily travel.

Sustainability is defined as “…development which meets the needs of   the present without compromising the ability of future generations to   meet their own needs…“ and is not to be confused with longevity.

Sustainability should be embedded within everything we do.

The overriding theme I took away from it was displacement borne out by the examples of success given: 1) replacing aging printers with multi-function devices; and 2) rolling out collaboration tools such as Office 2010 and Google apps.  No consideration seemed to have been given to the costs of developing the technology in the first place and bringing the product to market; the starting point always seemed to be an upgrade or newly available technology.

While the principle is admirable, the reality seems a long way off.