Growing public concern over the environment is providing "significant" market opportunities for the technology sector, according to a study from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which finds that business, not altruism, is forcing companies to take green issues more seriously as they look to attract customers.
The PwC survey of 148 senior technology executives found that 40% believe the green movement creates major market opportunities as customers increasingly demand environmentally friendly products and services.
Bill Cobourn, global & US technology leader and partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, says: "The growing demand for environmental products and services could translate into one of the biggest new markets in recent memory."
In addition, 60% of respondents cite energy savings as one of the most important factors in their company's environmental decision-making process. The survey shows that 61% of executives feel it is very important (29%) or important (32%) that their companies take steps to reduce their environmental impact.
Technology firms are also taking the initiative in putting in place green practices to safeguard against legislation and regulation, with 20% maintaining a formal "environmental policy" - a figure set to rise to 48% over the next two years.
Vendors are also paying attention to the green credentials of their partners and suppliers. Of those questioned, one in five say they practice environmentally preferred purchasing - selecting goods and services that have a lesser effect on the environment than the alternatives.
The study also found a difference in attitudes between hardware and software companies - 60% of hardware manufacturers say they are developing green products and services compared to just 33% of non-manufacturers.
PwC says software and service-oriented technology companies can also take advantage of the green drive by offering consultancy services that help customers reduce their carbon footprints.
"The pendulum swing towards green technology is unleashing a creative disruption within the global technology market," says Cobourn. "The pressure is on for companies to respond quickly, make the most of new opportunities and manage their own environmental risk."
British banking group HSBC recently came out top in a study that examines how global banks are tackling the risks and challenges posed by global warming and climate change.
The study of 40 global banks evaluated how each institution is addressing climate change in five areas - board of director oversight, management performance, public disclosure, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, accounting and strategic planning.
HSBC was found to be active in all five of the areas evaluated. Last year HSBC unveiled a $90 million global environmental efficiency programme. The money will be spent over five years to reduce the bank's impact on the environment through a series of initiatives, including the introduction of renewable energy technology, and water and waste reduction programmes.
HSBC's direct banking subsidiary first direct also disclosed plans to to install automated computer shut down software in an effort to reduce its carbon emissions by 147 tonnes and save £24,000 per year on energy costs.
ABN Amro came second in the study, followed by UK banking groups Barclays and Hbos and Germany's Deutsche Bank.
However, separate research released by Datamonitor and BT Global Services last month found that a general lack of planning means UK banks are failing to use technology effectively to improve environmental sustainability.
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