IBM, Sun Microsystems Top Greenpeace Cool IT Challenge

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: JAVA) topped the first Greenpeace Cool IT Challenge. But with scores of only 29 out of a possible 100 points, Greenpeace said the IT industry’s leadership in tackling cimate chanage is inadequate,  despite its claim to have the immense potential to enable 15% cuts or more in all global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

To deliver on its potential, Greenpeace said the IT industry needs to look beyond just cutting its own emissions and deliver more climate solutions for the rest of the economy while using its influence to call upon world leaders to deliver a climate saving deal at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December.

Greenpeace’s began its Cool IT Challenge in February with a letter to the CEOs of the major IT companies asking them to take specific action prioritizing climate change in 2009. Scores have been given based on public climate speech, political advocacy, climate solutions, emission targets and renewable energy use.

“While governments across the globe are debating how to solve the
climate crisis, it is disappointing that innovative IT companies that
stand to profit handsomely from tech solutions are sitting on their
hands and not advocating for science-based greenhouse gas emissions
reductions,” said Greenpeace International Campaigner Casey Harrell.

The few bright spots in the initial scorecard include Sun Microsystems, which has publically advocated for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 and at least 25% reduction below 1990 levels by 2020. Additionally, Fujitsu (FJTSF.PK) stands out as a company openly addressing the need to measure "net" emissions reductions that result from solutions they propose for the rest of the economy. But leading names such as HP (NYSE: HPQ), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Sony (NYSE: NSE) are among other IT giants that score less that 15 out of the maximum of 100.

“The majority of IT companies talk big about ‘going green’ rather than giving tangible evidence of how their software and hardware solutions actually reduce emissions. These companies must show case studies of climate savings based on sound metrics in areas such as smarter transport, building energy efficiency and smart grids,” said Harrell.

The Cool IT Challenge will be updated regularly, with the second version debuting in late summer.

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