Green telecom methodologies standardised by ITU

ITU has underlined its key role in green ICT with a raft of announcements by Study Group 5 of its Telecommunication Standardisation Sector (ITU-T).

A meeting of the group in Seoul, Korea has seen agreement on a globally recognised set of methodologies to assess the environmental impact of information and communications technology (ICT). It also saw agreement to produce a report on due diligence guidelines for conflict minerals supply, and to study environmental protection and recycling solutions for batteries for mobile phones and other ICT devices.

Estimates of how much ICTs can reduce global emissions – and estimates of the emissions generated by the ICT sector itself – still vary widely, due to the application of different measurement methodologies. After the problem was raised by delegates to ITU’s ‘ICTs and Climate Change’ symposium in 2008, ITU took on the challenge and has pioneered adoption of a new globally-agreed set of standards.

To ensure consistency between different approaches, the new methodology has been developed in cooperation with other standardisation organisations such as ISO, IEC, ETSI and ATIS. The new methodology is also aligned with the Digital Agenda of the European Commission. 

Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary General, ITU: “This methodology has been developed by ITU's industry members. This will be important in ensuring it gains wide acceptance by the world's ICT industry. An internationally agreed methodology means estimates of the impact of ICTs on greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption will now have much greater credibility. It will also show just how significant a contribution ICTs can make by reducing global emissions in other sectors.”

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission: “I'm pleased that the industry is taking the task of measuring its own footprint so seriously. And I'm pleased that the ITU, as a UN agency, is doing such good work facilitating negotiations, reaching out globally to industry sub-sectors and to other standardisation initiatives.”

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