Sun and IBM score highest on Greenpeace Cool IT challenge

The challenge scored companies on technologies, advocacy, and their own emission levels

Sun Microsystems and IBM scored the highest in the Greenpeace Cool IT challenge, which rated IT companies on the technologies they offer for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, their advocacy of global emission reduction targets, and their own use of renewable energy and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The results of the challenge were announced Wednesday.

Greenpeace decided on a challenge for IT vendors because they have the potential to deliver technologies across the economy that can help reduce global emissions, such as smart grids, smart homes, and smart transport systems, said Melanie Francis, Greenpeace International Climate Campaigner.

Climate change regulations will bring business opportunities to IT companies, which have the clout to influence political decisions, Francis said.

Sun has the best position on climate advocacy, and also scored well for reducing its own emissions, Greenpeace said. But Sun needs to provide information on technologies it offers to reduce emissions in other parts of the economy, the campaign group said.

IBM has a wide range of climate technologies, but needs to improve on providing net emissions reduction figures for case studies, and has to do more specific political advocacy, Greenpeace said.

The company also took knocks for promoting smarter oilfield technologies. There is a need for reduction in the use of fossil fuels, and IBM's investment in smarter oilfield technologies "counteracts" its other actions in the area of climate change, Francis said.

Greenpeace chose for the contest 14 companies that are world leaders in IT, and that claim to have technologies for climate change, Francis said.

IBM and Sun scored 29 points out of 100, while Dell followed with 21 and Cisco scored 19. Toshiba was at the bottom of the group with a score of 2, while Sharp scored 5. Microsoft and Sony scored 7. Microsoft provided little information about its limited range of climate solutions and needs to show far more leadership on advocacy and on cutting its own emissions, Greenpeace said.

IT companies are still developing technologies that will create carbon savings, and the highest score of 29 out of 100 is a fair assessment at this point, Francis said. As companies are able to demonstrate technologies in action the scores will go up, she added.

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