ETSI and ITU join efforts on ICT environmental impact methodology

Sophia Antipolis, 2 June 2014

Standard gives industry a uniform way to measure climate impact

ETSI and ITU have decided to jointly develop a standard to assess the direct environmental impact of ICT goods, networks and services, as well as their indirect impact on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of non-ICT industry sector.

The jointly developed specification has been developed in acknowledgement of the importance of providing industry with common tools to provide a lifecycle assessment of the environmental impact of its activities.

It is widely acknowledged that, on the one hand, ICTs have an environmental impact at every lifecycle stage. And on the other hand, ICTs can enable vast efficiencies with the provision of digital solutions that can improve energy efficiency, inventory management and business efficiency by, for example, reducing travel and transportation.

“The development of information and communication technologies has led to concerns regarding its environmental impact. ETSI addresses environmental issues and sustainability in several of its technical bodies. The collaboration between ETSI and ITU is an additional efficient way to work on environmental impact of ICT and benefit the industry at large,” says Luis Jorge Romero, ETSI’s Director General.

The standard, which is a new technically aligned text of previously approved standards from both organizations, will provide a better understanding of the overall impact of ICTs, granting manufacturers and service providers a reliable tool to assess and improve their environmental impact while also highlighting increased efficiencies.

Mutual cooperation between standards bodies is a key factor in ensuring an efficient, coordinated approach to international standards development.

This new specification is just one of the several standards planned to be developed in joint meetings by the two organizations in the next few years. Effective and coordinated action from standards bodies will provide the business community with more clarity regarding available standards and specifications under development. This increased certainty will promote a faster, more efficient adoption of standards in manufactured products, leading to greater economies of scale and lower costs to consumers.

The “Methodology for environmental impacts of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) goods, networks and services”, known as ITU-T L.1410 in ITU-T and ES 203 199 in ETSI, has achieved first-stage approval in the two organizations. It is the result of collaboration between ITU-T Study Group 5 (Environment and climate change) and the ETSI Technical Committee on Environmental Engineering (ETSI TC EE). The specifications will be available to the industry shortly.