Environmental Sustainability Now an Important Criterion in PC Selection

Personal computer (PC) upgrades in Asia Pacific are in full swing in the second half of 2010 and businesses are placing a greater emphasis on environmental sustainability in their choice of PC brand, according to new research from Gartner, Inc. However, analysts say PC providers are not offering the right mix of capabilities and messaging on sustainability and risk being excluded from lucrative opportunities.


“Aging PCs have mounting reliability issues while Windows 7 is forcing upgrades,” says Lillian Tay, principal research analyst at Gartner.  “Price, performance and service will continue to top the list of purchase criteria for new PCs, but energy efficiency, power management and disposal services are becoming increasingly important to PC buyers in large enterprises and midsize businesses.”


The Asia Pacific PC market is forecast to grow 20.4% in 2010 and continue to grow at a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 20.8% between 2009 and 2014.  In the PC markets of Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, stronger growth for 2010 and 2011 is expected as replacements gain momentum.


"Businesses in Asia Pacific, though still primarily concerned about return on investment (ROI), have realized that energy efficiency can contribute to reduced operating expenses,” adds Tay.  “However, awareness is still lacking as to exactly what a green PC is and the extent of business cost savings and environment conservation that is available by purchasing a green PC.  At the moment, the focus is on power efficiency and disposal because the costs and processes are well known.  But beyond this, the use of low toxic and recyclable materials and the overall carbon footprint are not yet high on the list of requirements.”


Governments in Asia Pacific are playing a key role in helping drive the focus on environmental sustainability for businesses, by actively putting in place initiatives and policies to reduce carbon emissions, as well as to encourage usage of renewable energy sources such as solar. One of these is the green building initiative that can have an indirect impact on PC purchases as it will encourage the use of energy efficient electrical equipment in these buildings.


However, despite government involvement, each country does have differing levels of development in environmental sustainability and the needs of PC buyers will differ slightly.  Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, where environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility is more active, are ahead of the curve in controlling waste and carbon emissions. According to Gartner, the demand for greener products will flow out of the niche market and into the mainstream sectors.


In China, India and other emerging markets in Asia Pacific, there still will be pockets of opportunities such as new eco-cities that are being developed.  In these places it will be easier to adopt green technology as it is a ground-up directive, offering opportunistic projects that can be good reference sites.


“Certainly more can be done to improve and progress toward the ‘green PC’ within the Asia Pacific PC market,” notes Tay.  “However, all is not ready in the region yet.  It will take longer, possibly four or five years, to make readily available materials and processes that will reduce the carbon footprint in the production and the delivery of PCs, including the use of more recyclable and fewer toxic materials.”


Gartner advises PC providers to build sustainability capabilities and messaging on top of a robust offering of products with proven reliability, service and support, and also stress the long-term cost savings.


“When PC buyers are prepared to invest in this, they will want credible information and a choice of products and providers.  The pressure to act responsibly and contribute to the sustainability of the environment cannot be ignored.  These actions only will improve and increase with time as more products become available and the cost for going green becomes negligible.”




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