In a research note released today, Richard J. De Lotto, principal analyst, banking industry advisory services at Gartner, declared that financial firms will step up their focus on green IT through 2012. "Environmental issues will rise up on political, media, enterprise, investor and consumer agendas through 2012," he stated in the note. "The financial services industries will not escape this profound change in stakeholder focus, and their IT departments will bear the brunt of the impact.What does he mean by "green IT"? "We need to carefully separate "Green IT" and "Lean IT," he wrote in a follow-up email exchange. "Right now they are VERY similar, but they represent different trends and can diverge at any time. Financial institutions have been at the forefront of developing 'green' oriented products and services, and moving toward environmentally sustainable business practices is a key concern for almost every financial firm I speak with these days. Right now, though, most of the initiatives are being driven by both cost savings AND environmental consciousness." For financial institutions to be seriously considered green, De Lotto believes they will need to have an ISO 14001 Environmental Management Program in place (or at least started) by 2010. He believes "almost all" financial institutions will be trying to be greener by 2012.
Capital markets firms in particular have been under tremendous pressure from the corporate social responsibility and ethical investment communities to become green, De Lotto says. But, he wonders, "Does it count as being green if it saves them money too?"