ITU advocates industry standards for green telecoms

The ITU has called for a global methodology to assess the environmental impact of ICTs. Following on from the first ITU Green Standards Week, the UN agency advocated greater collaboration on the application and development of ICT standards to help combat climate change.

The ITU has been working with industry and government members in an attempt to agree an internationally recognised set of methodologies to be approved by the end of the year. Included is a methodology which ICT companies can use to measure their own carbon footprint, as well as a way to estimate the considerable savings in global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy that can be achieved in other sectors through the use of ICTs.

A single global methodology will give credibility to the various claims currently being made about the benefits of ICTs in addressing climate change and energy issues.

ITU Secretary General Dr Hamadoun Touré: “By adopting globally agreed standards – green standards – we will help to create a smarter, greener, planet; a planet which will be full of opportunity and potential and which will help the next generation reap tremendous rewards.”

The increase in e-waste generated by the expanding use of ICT, and the decreasing life span of equipment, was highlighted as an area of great concern, as was the export of e-waste to developing countries. Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardisation Bureau (TSB): “Production of ICT equipment must minimise the use of toxic material, and be designed to have a longer life span. Standardisation is important in achieving this. ITU’s universal charger is an excellent example of what can be achieved with international cooperation. E-waste that cannot be avoided must be recycled in an environmentally sound manner to extract valuable secondary raw materials.”

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