76% of GB Consumers Expect Businesses to Foot the Bill for Their Carbon Footprint, Nlyte Software Research Reveals

Survey of 1,000 consumers reveals total lack of awareness for the cost of their data carbon footprint when it comes to online services such as free email and social networking

London, UK – November 24, 2010 – nlyte Software, a leading provider of data centre infrastructure management solutions, today released the results of its research that surveyed 1,000 GB consumers aged between 16 and 64 years old on the awareness and implications of their carbon footprint associated with the use of online services such as free email, social networking and online shopping. The research, conducted by TNS1, shows a worrying apathy for green IT amongst consumers that could paralyse the future business world if it is not addressed immediately.

nlyte’s research indicates that the absence of dialogue between consumers and businesses has resulted in a widespread naivety about the severity of data’s carbon footprint.  This is most prevalent in the younger generation who represent the future of environmental change – just a fraction (2 percent) of 16-24 year olds would consider paying for online services to offset their carbon emissions despite being the heaviest users of such services as Hotmail, Amazon and Facebook.  Instead, more than three quarters (76 percent) believe that businesses should be responsible for footing the bill.  With this in mind, organisations could not only find their finances crippled by rising energy costs and green legislation, but also risk consumer backlash to contributing to this cost.

“With research indicating that the most tech savvy generation – the biggest users of energy intensive internet services – have little concern for the cost of their carbon footprint, UK businesses could find themselves in real trouble,” commented Rob Neave, co-founder and VP of IT and sustainability at nlyte Software.  “Consumers have undoubtedly become accustomed to free internet services.  Our research further shows they have no intention of paying – even if it means being green – which places increased pressure on businesses as the cost of the carbon footprint of these services continues to soar.  This is sounding an alarm bell for businesses – particularly as they continue to be plagued by more green levies and rising energy costs, such as the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme tax levy which is coming soon.  If businesses are to get any understanding from consumers, let alone contribution towards the cost of running these services, future generations need to know what their carbon footprint looks like.”

Consumers however are not the only offenders – nlyte also surveyed 100 UK CIOs and data centre managers around the issue, in conjunction with Vanson Bourne2, which indicated a similar lack of awareness for amongst businesses.  While more than half (54 percent) accept it is their corporate responsibility to pay for consumers’ online carbon  footprint,  a shocking 53 percent of CIOs and data centre managers still have no idea of the environmental impact of their own data centres and are thus completely unprepared to implement any effective targeted environmental initiatives.  This is particularly significant given the new green levies and league tables within recent government legislation, such as in the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme3.

What is evident from nlyte’s findings is that, as online services inevitably continue to grow, the channels of communication between consumers and businesses need to be fully opened in order to mitigate further environmental damage.  At present, an unsure 59 percent of organisations either don’t know or aren’t planning on advising their customers on the environmental impact of the data centre in relation to the online services they use, so it is therefore no wonder that a staggering 83 percent of consumers don’t know where their Facebook photos and email accounts are stored.

Furthermore, despite the recent push around green initiatives in the UK press, more than two thirds (67 percent) of consumers are oblivious to impending environmental government legislation coming into effect for companies – in any capacity, not just specific to the data centre.

“While the business world’s oblivious state of mind is inexcusable when it comes to their carbon footprint, it comes as no great surprise to see how little consumers understand about the environmental impact technology can have – nonetheless, their sheer lack of accountability for the UK’s carbon footprint is astonishing,” added Simon Webster, Vice President and General Manager of EMEA Operations at nlyte Software.  “Businesses must now take control of the situation by initiating the dialogue with consumers to educate and raise awareness of the true cost of their online habits if they are to prevent damaging fines, hefty costs and irreparable reputational damage from environmental legislation.

“What neither consumers nor businesses seem to realise is that this may directly impact their access to these services in the future,” concluded Webster.  “If it is not addressed now, online data’s hidden carbon footprint may just stifle businesses to a standstill.”

[1] nlyte survey of 1,000 consumers in GB conducted by TNS, November 2010

[2] nlyte survey of 100 CIOs and data centre managers at UK enterprises conducted by Vanson Bourne, October 2010

[3] The CRC (Carbon Reduction Committee) Energy Efficiency Scheme, introduced in April 2010, is a mandatory climate change and energy saving scheme in the UK set out in the Government’s Climate Change Act 2008, which aims to encourage organisations to improve energy efficiency by driving changes in behaviour and infrastructure, including IT.  Recent updates include adding levies and fines to further push efficiency.


About nlyte Software
nlyte Software is a leading provider of data centre infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions for intelligent capacity planning.  Its performance-based solution enables the world’s largest companies to optimally place data centre assets to make the most efficient use of power, cooling and space, enabling a reduction in operating expenses by as much as 20 percent annually.  Founded by data centre professionals in 2003, nlyte Software is headquartered in Menlo Park, California, with its European headquarters and R&D in London, England.  It also has a local presence in France.  The company can be found online at http://www.nlyte.com.

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nlyte Software
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