Auditing Green IT Governance and Management With COBIT 5

Today’s organizations find themselves facing a relatively new challenge—governing and managing sustainability—since sustainability has become an important issue and is increasingly essential for business. Green IT practices help enterprises achieve and maintain ecosustainability. Like any other business practice, green IT can be optimized for value—not only to the business, but also to the broader community—when it is appropriately governed and managed. COBIT 5 offers an IT governance and management framework to help enterprises standardize and control green IT, so that it meets the expectations of the business. The case study herein offers one example for planning and conducting green IT audits to measure the enterprise’s progress toward green IT goals.

Understanding Green IT

Green IT reflects a broad array of technology and practices that helps enterprises conserve energy and natural resources; reduce or eliminate waste; reuse, recycle or repurpose materials, especially technology hardware and infrastructure; and design, implement and use information systems sustainably.

Green IT not only strives to reduce the negative impact that IT departments have on the environment, but also seeks to use information and technology (I&T) in ways that reduce environmental impact more broadly. Green IT, therefore, spans two overlapping but distinct conceptual domains:

  • Green in information technology (green in IT)—As a producer of goods and services, enterprise IT itself has an impact on the environment: It consumes energy and technology artifacts (including both hardware and software), produces emissions, etc. Therefore, IT departments can implement green IT internally to produce more efficiently and consume more sustainably.
  • Green by information technology (green by IT)—As an enabler6 of efficient and sustainable practices, information and technology (I&T) can provide tools—the number and scope of which are virtually limitless—that facilitate sustainability outside the IT department, across the enterprise and beyond.
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