At the Commission we work hard from lots of angles to promote a greener world, and I don’t think the ICT sector can be an exception (see here for what my own team is doing).
So, it’s great to see the Mobile sector’s Green Manifesto getting some real teeth today with 17 new recruits signing up to the GSM Association’s (GSMA) Mobile Energy Efficiency Network Benchmarking Service.
The idea, as I understand it, is that this will help operators measure and monitor their networks’ energy and carbon footprints. This is very welcome, in particular because the approach of using a common measurement framework. This approach mirrors the task we set for the whole ICT sector in our Digital Agenda for Europe. (My next question: which part of the sector is next? Tell me!)
The other point worth making here is about the GSMA’s active collaboration with international standardisation organizations. This will help us have really strong data to assess the life cycle impact of ICT. That can’t be over-estimated because we have to know what impact we are really dealing with in order to reduce it in the best ways. Transparency around metrics can reveal information on poorly (or well) functioning products and systems, and thus help us make meaningful progress towards sustainability. And again, it all fits with our approach in the Digital Agenda.
So, what does all of this mean? It means we have reason to think ICT industries are ‘getting their act together’ on green issues. It’s not enough to talk about how much energy digitization saves; we also have to deal with the sector’s growing appetite for energy. And with the insights gained from transparent metrics we are better able to do that. It may make the difference between an industry that devours energy and natural resources, and accelerates climate change, and one is at the heart of our work to treat the planet better. This is why the Commission has ranked the task among the 16 priority actions of our Digital Agenda, and it’s why I am pleased with this sort of progress through industry partnership.