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Making Government Technology Greener

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We will be featuring occasional guest blogs from the Technology Leaders. Here, Jeremy Boss, Technology Leader for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Chair of the cross-government Green ICT Delivery Unit, shares an update on government’s progress in becoming more green.

Jeremy Boss, DECC
Jeremy Boss, DECC

Last month, Technology Leaders reconfirmed their commitment to delivering the Greening Government ICT Strategy.  The strategy aims to put UK central government at the forefront of Green ICT best practice.

Cabinet Office published the strategy in 2011 with an ambitious four year plan. This work is coordinated by the Green Delivery Unit (GDU). The GDU brings together experts, develops tools, shares best practice and reports annually on the assessment of progress.

So far all departments have made good progress and have agreed a green technology road map.

Technology and sustainability

A lot has changed in the delivery of Government technology since 2011.  We have adopted Digital by Default for all government transactions. We’ve also started the move to Cloud services and increased use of shared technology services by departments.

Demand for technology and services is increasing. And this means more computers, tablets, mobiles and big data stores.  All of these consume electricity and technology’s share of the world’s carbon emissions is on the rise.

So the GDU focus is on making sure that Green technology and sustainability are factored in to this changing world.  We need to measure our IT carbon footprint and put in place steps to reduce it. We need to strike the right balance. We must deliver and operate services efficiently. But we should also exploit technology fully to bring sustainability benefits.

Technology as the solution

Modern technology should be part of the solution to growing carbon emissions. The GDU  focus is on how technology can support organisations with more efficient and flexible business processes and new ways of working.

Examples of these are reducing office accommodation, travel, using less paper and providing more digital services.

Technology can help us meet the Greening Government Commitments:

  • to reduce the size and energy footprint of its Estate
  • To reduce the number of domestic flights and
  • to reduce the volume of waste.


The 3rd annual assessment process was launched in early March with the results planned for publication in July.

The assessment covers:

·         the level of maturity reached by each department in embedding Green technology principles and best practices
·         key target outcomes achieved through the adoption of these best practices
·         estimating a footprint for the energy consumed in providing ICT services
·         achieving EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres  ‘Endorser’ status
·         statistics and case studies to provide evidence for progress

Look out for the results in July.  I’m confident that we’ll be heading in the right direction.

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