Gartner Research

Going Green: The CIO's Role in Enterprisewide Environmental Sustainability

Published: 01 May 2008

ID: G00157867

Analyst(s): Simon Mingay , Andy Rowsell-Jones


Environmental sustainability--going green--makes such good business sense it is inevitable. CIOs and IT may provide leadership for this movement by focusing on areas of greatest value, establishing a solid management infrastructure, and determining which roles IT should take in the transition.

Table Of Contents


Executive summary

  • Why green is gold
  • Focus green initiatives on areas of greatest value
  • Establish the management infrastructure to deliver green initiatives
  • Decide how IT should respond

Why green is gold

  • Economic realities make the environment a business issue
  • For CIOs, energy use is the environmental issue
  • There are two key questions CIOs should ask about environmental sustainability: What and how?

Focus green initiatives on areas of greatest value

  • Green issues impact different parts of the enterprise in different ways
  • Assess how the greening environment impacts your enterprise’s strategy
  • Assess how your enterprise’s business operations will be impacted by the opportunities and threats of a greening environment
  • Green capabilities require core systems and operations
  • Get IT’s house in order

Establish the management infrastructure to deliver green initiatives

  • Management infrastructure underpins a successful response to the greening environment
  • Support green initiatives with roles that coordinate and control
  • Use a systematic approach to deliver green business improvements
  • Measure the right things
  • Define the boundaries of measurement to aid focus
  • Measure relevant aspects of environmental impact

Decide how IT should respond

  • IT can respond to green initiatives in one or more of three ways
  • Determine IT’s role by matching its capabilities with the initiatives
  • When greening IT itself, use a 10-point plan
  • In summary: Making the difference in enterprisewide greening


  • A1: Strategic opportunities and threats worksheet
  • Identifying green strategic opportunities and threats
  • A2: Business operations opportunities and threats worksheet
  • Identifying green business operations opportunities and threats
  • A3: Sample environmental reports: Tables of contents
  • A4: Useful environmental sustainability references to metrics and standards

Further reading

  • Gartner EXP reports
  • Core research
  • Books
  • Other publications
  • Presentations
  • Web sites

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