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Climate Action 2012-2013


INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY Assuming reasonable adoption of all eight activities, the six countries featured in the study can achieve net energy savings equivalent to 2 per cent of their total energy consumption. The USA can generate annual net energy savings of about 336 million barrels of oil, while France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK can generate annual net energy savings of 164 million barrels of oil – equivalent to 2 per cent of the total energy use in these countries. At first glance, the total savings in this report might seem small. However, when considered in context, these eight activities represent only a sample of the countries’ respective economies. Even at this scale, these activities can generate a larger benefit, equal to the total GHG emissions impact of the ICT industry. Telecommuting provided the largest energy benefit across the EU-5 and US, generating about 83 to 86 per cent of net energy savings respectively. Telecommuting practices have the potential to have a multiplier effect and facilitate greater low-carbon benefits, for example, reduced driving time. The areas of least savings were online news and e-education. In these cases, consumers are likely to continue old practices, such as reading a newspaper, while adopting new broadband-enabled activities. MOVE TO THE CLOUD Continuing to develop its position as a thought leader on ICT and climate change, GeSI supported a study to examine the carbon abatement potential of cloud computing in China, Canada, Brazil and seven European countries. Entitled The Enabling Technologies of a Low-Carbon Economy – a Focus on Cloud Computing, the study is being conducted by the Think Play Do Group, a spin-out from Imperial College London, with the support of GeSI and GeSI member Microsoft. The study has been validated by researchers at Reading University and the Harvard Business School, and will be published in early 2013. In October 2012, GeSI released preliminary findings in relation to China in conjunction with a workshop on connected cities in Shenzhen ( The findings revealed a number of important insights concerning the carbon abatement potential of cloud computing in China assuming that 80 per cent of all organisations across the country adopt the technology, while permanently switching off their on-premise servers. “As cloud computing services become more prevalent, we can expect further benefits.” The increased use of cloud computing services by businesses can reduce annual GHG emissions by nearly 2 mega tonnes (1.9 Mt CO2e), which is equivalent to the removal of over 700,000 cars from Chinese roads, and would create nationwide savings in energy bills of almost 900 million Yuan. Around 65 per cent of these potential savings relate to small or micro-sized firms. Two mega tonnes is just the beginning as the study focused upon readily available cloud-based email, customer relationship management and groupware applications. As cloud computing services become more prevalent, we can expect further benefits. COLLABORATE FOR ONE-PLANET LIVING The ICT sector has both a profitable opportunity and a critical role to play with other sectors in deploying solutions needed to create a lowcarbon economy and enable us to live within the resources of one planet. To make this happen we engage fully with a wide range of stakeholders to clearly understand ICT’s potential and accelerate the deployment of ICT services and solutions. As GeSI has shown, the ICT sector seeks to fulfil its mission to make the world a more sustainable place for future generations. “The ICT sector seeks to fulfil its mission to make the world a more sustainable place.” Governments and policy-makers are vital to this process. Their support is needed to play a key role in expanding the demand for ICT solutions and create a conducive policy environment. Policy measures supporting the deployment of ICT solutions include: developing global methodologies and standards to measure the GHG footprint of the ICT sector and assess its 128

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY © Getty © Getty © Shuttershock © Veer enabling impact in other sectors; supporting investment in broadband infrastructure; including ICT solutions in policies designed to tackle transformational change; facilitating cross-sector collaboration between the ICT sector and other sectors; green public procurement; investing in R&D; and building awareness of ICT solutions by educating users and helping to facilitate behavioural change. GeSI endeavours to work with the wide range of stakeholders needed to make a difference for our planet. We aim to collaborate and work together to move from potential to reality, and truly enable ICT to achieve one-planet living. Luis Neves is Chairman of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), a position he has held since 2006 after being re-elected for a third term in 2012. He is also Climate Change and Sustainability Officer, Executive Vice President, at Deutsche Telekom Group. With over thirty years of experience at the national and international level in the field of telecommunications and the Information Society, Luis has played a fundamental role in promoting the role of ICT in relation to climate change. Luis was the driving force and chairman of the steering committee of the landmark study SMART 2020 - Enabling the Low Carbon Economy in the Information Age. Luis currently holds positions and participates in a range of international projects and initiatives including GeSI, the United Nations Global Compact Lead and the Steering Committee of the United Nations ‘Caring for Climate’ initiative. The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) is a strategic partnership of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector and organisations committed to creating and promoting technologies and practices that foster economic, environmental and social sustainability. Formed in 2001, GeSI’s vision is a sustainable world through responsible, ICT-enabled transformation. GeSI fosters global and open co-operation, informs the public of its members’ voluntary actions to improve their sustainability performance, and promotes technologies that bring forward sustainable development. GeSI has 32 members representing leading companies and associations from the ICT sector. GeSI also partners with two UN organisations – the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) – as well as a range of international stakeholders committed to ICT sustainability objectives. These partnerships help shape GeSI’s global vision regarding the evolution of the ICT sector, and how it can best meet the challenges of sustainable development. For more information, see 129