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Strong customer pressure on biz to go green

Businesses' growing concerns over their public profile and the need to meet corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations mean vendors and suppliers are increasingly under pressure to be eco-friendly to stay competitive.

This was recently highlighted when Apple in July rejoined the Electronics Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) green technology standard, just days after withdrawing from it.

The about-turn which Cupertino said "was a mistake" was apparently driven by the loss of potential business, after the City of San Francisco was the first public agency to cancel its Apple purchases as the EPEAT certification was a requirement for its equipment procurement.

Major corporations such as Ford, HSBC and Kaiser Permanente also require their CIOs to purchase computers from EPEAT-certified manufacturers, according to the Wall Street Journal in July.

And tech companies in Asia say businesses have started to demand green features and products as part of their internal company policies.

Taylor Man, executive vice president of new business division at NTT Com Asia, said more customers prefer to do business with environmentally responsible companies and are incorporating green standards as part of their procurement requirements.

He noted a "surge in enquiries" about sustainable data center services, with the number doubling over the past two years. Some customers listed energy efficiency, for example, as a key evaluation criterion, Man said.

"With increasing awareness of sustainability and, therefore, the demand on ICT outsourcing because of its inherent efficiency, green is no doubt of increasing importance in the datacenter industry," he said.

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