What are the barriers to improving sustainability in IT?

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Director of Security Operations in Finance (non-banking), 5,001 - 10,000 employees
We need to collectively think through the perennial problem of whether we are creating higher barriers to entry for those who are not already monied and in a position to do great things. As a simple example, we went all natural and organic in my house and it did great things in terms of our health, but my bills for food and cleaners went up by about 20% across the board. If someone does not have the same level of personal resources to cope with that increase, even though they know it's a good thing to do, they will just buy the Clorox off the shelf because it’s a lot easier and their budget will stretch longer. We now have large organizations and companies who have recognized that sustainability is a problem, whether it's for publicity purposes or because of their genuine beliefs. I tend to believe it's a problem that's coming quicker. Last summer was one of the hottest on record in Arizona, so we are seeing the impacts of that. And we need to do something. 
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Director, IT in Software, 201 - 500 employees

Whether people can afford to be sustainable or eat organic is a legitimate question. But being in the US, it's very difficult to ask and then, for some, to answer. For a lot of my friends in Europe, it's not super expensive for them to eat organic. They can go to the store and buy a ton of organic food for their entire family for a fraction of the amount we're spending here. So from both a personal and business standpoint, sustainability is one thing which we obviously need to get better about because we're starting to see the effects of this in real time. 

IT Operating Unit Director in Education, 10,001+ employees
Lack of awareness from senior leadership of how sustainability in IT can have an positive impact can be a barrier, especially in non-tech industries. In that respect it’s often a communications issue within IT that fails to articulate why it’s important and what’s needed to accomplish it. 
CIO / CDO in Construction, 10,001+ employees
I can see 2 main reasons for any reservation towards increasing awareness followed by actions and change in our behaviors relative to "sustainability" in IT.
1. the usual fear or resistance towards change in how we think, plan, work, execute, behave, fund etc.
2. potential financial impact = higher cost as perceived by the ones around us who may need to approve our budgets.
However, both are opportunities for each one of us. It's up to us as leaders to turn the challenge into an opportunity, an advantage. As much as there's resistance towards many other aspects of sustainability or "more green" or whatever it shall be called.

re 1: if we can't manage and lead change or transformation we shouldn't even think or tackel the big ticket items like "digital" either. It's all about change and in both, the technology behind it all is our least challenge and the lowest hurdle! If we're clever, we can even marry the two - digital + sustainability!

re 2: sustainability shouldn't be interpreted as "higher cost". Here too, it's up to us to get the strategy right (not the old fashion way of doing strategy, we're in this "digital-to-be" world now thus strategizing has to transform too as a prerequisite to success in our digital journeys!), rethinking on how we do business cases, reconsider the good old "TCO" in a more comprehensive manner, position sustainability as a competitive edge rather than "cost". Look back at what "information security" or "cyber security" has been looked at not too long ago - it has been been considered as pure cost - but we learned the lesson in the hard way (however, many leader still didn't though...). Let's think about sustainability as a component of digital governance, business resilience etc. and right away, we're in a different ball game...

Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, this is very briefly my way of thinking over it and I am sure, there's plenty of different opinions and thoughts against and around it...
CIO in Services (non-Government), 1,001 - 5,000 employees
By sustainability, I assume we are talking about energy consumption etc.  Each company/industry will have its own challenges/barriers.  The major one is probably finance since in most cases there will need to be capital to replace old machinery and inefficient systems.  Going forward, I always thought that new equipment in IT has always been made to be as efficient as possible, without necessarily being "sustainable".  This does not mean each of us cannot do our bit to increase the lifetime of IT equipment.  The next barrier is probably ourselves since we may all want the best and greatest equipment, even if it sits on a desk or to be used on our train journeys to play computer games!  In my case, I have made sure that laptops are kept for 5-6 years and then after that used in staff homes or other good causes - no need to put them into landfill yet.  As for mobiles, they are only replaced every 3 years or so and only if there is a need.  We need to consider how we use technology and only get what we need and replace those which are necessary.  This should lead us some way to making technology sustainable.
Director of IT in Manufacturing, Self-employed
We naturally address issues and opportunities in the order of their importance and impact.  In order for sustainability to get more attention and focus, it must start moving the needle on the things we care about most.  For many companies, cost is a natural and understandable common barrier to such efforts.  Currently, sustainability efforts are primarily driven by strategic directives and those directives must come with KPIs or OKRs in order to motivate an organization to make sustainability something that receives care.

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CTO in Software, 201 - 500 employees
Without a doubt - Technical Debt! It's a ball and chain that creates an ever increasing drag on any organization, stifles innovation, and prevents transformation.
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