ICT Carbon footprint

What is ICT Carbon Footprint?

Literally, a carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that goes in the atmosphere, caused by a specific action made by an individual, an event, an organisation or a product and it is indicated with CO2e.
The ICT Carbon Footprint is the amount of carbon generated by the Information and Communication Technology sector.

How much is the impact of ICT on carbon footprint?

Do you think that Information and Communication Technology sector is synonym of "green"? Just as an example, it is estimated that a single email accounts for 4g of CO2e issued. An email with attachment is account for 50g of CO2e1. With a broader picture, ICTs account for 8-10% of the European electricity consumption and up to 4% of its carbon emissions - plus nearly 70% of 150 IT decision makers in the UK, France and Germany do not have a system in place to measure environmental impact2. That is why analysing the carbon footprint of ICT, given the continuously increasing employment of technologies for businesses, organisations and for our daily routines, is vital for decreasing the global carbon footprint of our entire planet. 

With a wise energy and environmental efficiency strategy, savings up to 15% of global emissions can be made by 2020, especially in sectors like transport, energy, industry and buildings. Measurement systems are the very first step to tackling energy efficiency.

How to decrease ICT carbon footprint (and increase costs efficiency)?

The first step in order to decrease organisations' carbon footprint impact and increase their costs efficiency is to adopt methodologies in order to calculate the actual carbon production made by goods or services manufacturing or organisational processes. There are methodologies to assess the carbon footprint of products (typical of LCA) and only a few dedicated to assessing the overall picture of the carbon footprint of an organisation.

How can ICTFOOTPRINT.eu help?

The purpose of ICTFOOTPRINT.eu is to address them both, with the specific purpose of helping European businesses and organisations to assess their ICT carbon footprint in an easy way and fostering the adoption of energy efficiency solutions. This process will strongly reduce Europe's carbon footprint and raise competitiveness of businesses, ultimately leading to costs savings.

1Source: Berners-Lee, M. (2011). How bad are bananas? The carbon footprint of everything. Vancouver: Greystone Books.
2Source: Datacenter Converge Europe 2015

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