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Green storage? Yeah right…

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It’s an empty box…

A recent trip to Storage Expo last month (the highlight of the year for the UK’s data storage community) has left Greenbang feeling a bit cynical…

Everybody who’s anybody in the IT space is now boasting about their eco credentials – so no one was surprised to learn that this year’s Storage Expo had a distinctly environmental theme.

As soon as delegates entered Olympia’s National Hall, the first impression was one of overwhelming “green-ness.” Almost every IT company present had revamped its stand and painted it green – and asked all of its staff to wear matching green polo shirts. They were all giving away spongy little green and blue Planet Earths, green pencils, green shopping bags, green baseball caps, green T-shirts, green USB keys – even little green Mini Coopers!

The piece de resistance was the Green IT Zone, an area sponsored by a few renowned vendors, which consider themselves to be authorities on the topic. They had come together to provide a programme of educational key note speeches, designed to educate the IT community and have us all running back to our offices to slash our carbon emissions in half.

Yet – somewhere along the line, the meaning behind all this green propaganda seems to have been entirely forgotten… or ignored.

To start with, the walls of the Green IT Zone were covered in literature racks, which each of the sponsors (bar the LTO Program – could this be the only IT company that gets it?) had dutifully filled with pamphlets, brochures, press releases and other papers. None of the collateral was printed on recycled paper. None of it was interesting. And we doubt that any of it was read – by anyone!

Greenbang quizzed the organisers about it, and asked why the sponsors been encouraged to waste all this material on green marketing, and thus demonstrate a genuine commitment to saving the planet – but no one seemed to understand his confusion.

Then the speeches began. Greenbang was quite looking forward to some of the well-named sessions – but they were all just about products, and how the sponsor’s product used a bit less energy that its competitor’s product, and that it, therefore, was “green.”

Nonsense.

Enraged, Greenbang wandered around the exhibition hall, asking various CIOs and IT managers what they thought about the environment, and whether they were trying to formulate environmentally sustainable strategies.

The overwhelming response was “no.” (Unless, of course, it can help save money.)

The walk from the exhibition centre to the tube station was littered with discarded leaflets, white papers and brochures, and bins were overflowing with spongy little green and blue Planet Earths, green pencils, green shopping bags, green baseball caps, green T-shirts, green USB keys – even green model Mini Coopers.

The IT industry is definitely green on the outside – but inside it’s just a cloud of ugly smog. Until IT managers are made accountable for their soaring energy bills, they’re not going to mend their ways – money’s the only thing that makes their world go round.

How incredibly sad.

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