Recycling matters: Dell is leading green brand among IT buyers

By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff March 31, 2009

The global “green” enterprise IT study released by Strategic Oxygen Cohn & Wolfe finds Dell is the No. 1 green technology brand, recognized for its extensive recycling program—the top-ranked attribute sought by IT buyers.
Hewlett-Packard (HP), IBM , and Microsoft were noted for their energy-efficient products and use of sustainable materials, while Apple held its position in the top five for designing products perceived to have a green look and feel.
For this survey Strategic Oxygen surveyed more than 3,500 enterprise IT decision makers—including CEOs, CIOs, IT managers, and line of business managers—in 11 countries. The study also looked at 26 enterprise technology brands to determine decision makers’ perceptions of “green” IT, products, and marketing.
For the purposes of the study, “green technology” was defined as having efficient power consumption, recyclable/reusable packaging, recycling offers for older equipment, use of non-toxic materials, or making investments in future “green” concepts such as alternative materials.
GreenFactor ,on among the various green offerings, yet brand rankings among companies shifted somewhat, with Dell at 30 percent moving to No. 1, replacing HP, which fell to number two at 26 percent.
Similar to the July findings, no single enterprise IT brand is a clear “green” leader globally and there is little statistical difference between the leaders.
According to Michael Gale, president of Strategic Oxygen, “As we watch companies make financial commitments to the environment with innovation and marketing, it is interesting that the differentiation among the various brands is so small. However, given Dell’s long-term and consistent commitment to sustainability, I am not surprised to see it at the top. The challenge is going to be building differentiated value over time.”
GreenFactor is the first research to document and track what the top green buying attributes are for the B2B tech sector and which companies are perceived by IT buyers as getting it right. The findings, coupled with the July study, have identified two distinctive segments that IT buyers use to judge companies: “Brand Products” and “Brand Operations.”
The Brand Product attributes that most clearly impact purchase decision include:
• Designs and makes hardware made from biodegradable/recyclable materials;
• Designs products or packaging that appears to be green because the design looks clean;
• Offers recycling programs for old hardware;
• Makes energy-efficient products; and
• Promotes a green corporate image.
Brand Operations attributes include having green facilities (manufacturing and/or data centers), using green shipping methods—e.g., non-wasteful packaging, efficient transportation—or leading in developing new green technologies.
IT buyers currently rank Brand Product higher than Brand Operations when making purchase decisions, but an IT vendor’s ability to effectively demonstrate environmental stewardship in both areas gives them a distinct advantage.
Laptops and servers are the top products IT buyers indicate they will purchase within the next twelve months, according to the survey, and green attributes figure prominently in buyer requirements.
“The technology brands that make the authentic connection between the environmental soundness of their products and their sustainable business operations and policies, will be long-term winners,” says Claudia Carasso, managing director of the global technology practice at Cohn & Wolfe. “We also know that CIOs who are committed to green strategies depend more on blogs and forums than their non-green counterparts for gathering information on technology solutions. This is an important finding for product and service providers looking for current and credible ways to reach the coveted C-suite buyer.”