D3.4 – RECOMMENDATIONS TOWARDS POLICY ACTION PLAN ON GREEN ICT
The aim of the ICTFOOTPRINT.eu project is to deliver a practical response to the barriers identified to the adoption of ICT environmental footprint calculation methodologies among the European ICT sector (both providers and users of ICT goods and services). The work conducted during project completion constituted an opportunity to gather information on potential levers towards reduced environmental impacts from ICT, with a particular focus on dedicated methodologies. Feedback originated from selected experts, from ICTFOOTPRINT.eu services, during events, as well as when working with existing initiatives or projects, etc. A dedicated workshop was also organised in Paris by the project consortium in September 2018 on this topic, and the outcomes were used in this deliverable.
The present report outlines the need for the EU to develop a global strategy to reduce the environmental impacts from the ICT sector (covering goods, services, as well as organisations activities). Indeed, the growing demand for ICT goods and services leads to increased environmental impacts from the sector; while further knowledge is needed to efficiently understand these impacts. Some difficulties are also identified as preventing stakeholders’ commitment and actions towards ICT with reduced environmental footprint, including lack of awareness (e.g. on potential benefits). Finally, many initiatives are launched at regional, MS and EU levels, however coordination is still missing before a global strategy on “green ICT” is established. It should be noted that “green ICT” is a common term, used in the context of the project and the deliverable to reflect on ICT with reduced environmental impacts.
Using the above elements, the deliverable provides Recommendations towards a Policy Action Plan on “green ICT”, organised in three categories: increase awareness and knowledge on ICT environmental impacts; convince ICT stakeholders of benefits from reduced ICT impacts; and facilitate commitment and actions to a more environment-friendly ICT sector. This document should be considered as a first set of recommendations, dedicated to “green ICT” rather than “ICT for green”, and covering – but not limited to – policy aspects.
There is a large variety of ways for the EC or MS to encourage the ICT sector towards more environment-friendly activities. Many initiatives and networks already exist at EU, MS or regional levels with this perspective. A recommended approach therefore would be to capitalise on existing assets, provide them with means to go further, and give them a global perspective by building a Policy Action Plan dedicated to “green ICT”, and directly integrated in digital strategies at EU and MS levels. In this context, the ICTFOOTPRINT.eu platform appears as a first step towards increased knowledge and involvement in ICT activities with known and reduced environmental impact. A sustainability plan was realised to ensure its legacy after project completion, i.e. that the services currently provided by the platform remain available, even updated on a regular basis when relevant.