Gartner has calculated that the global IT industry exhausts roughly as much carbon dioxide as the world's aviation industry. Each of the two industries accounts for 2 percent of world's CO2 emissions.
The estimate is based on the cumulative amount of energy that PCs, servers, cooling systems, fixed- and mobile-phone systems, local-area networks, office telecommunications and printers use within the world's offices.
The estimate also includes all commercial and governmental IT, as well as telecommunications infrastructures worldwide, but it does not include consumer electronics other than cell phones and personal computers.
Simon Mingay, research vice president at Gartner, said technology companies will face increasing financial, environmental and legislative pressures to become more environmentally sustainable over the next five years.
Few IT management teams are aware of environmental and corporate social-responsibility policies already in place, and they have not mapped out the impact of the business' activities on the environment, Mingay added.