Top Ten Actions for the Information, Communication & Technology Sector

The top ten actions to help information, communication and technology firms reduce their environmental impact are:

Measure and monitor carbon emissions from operations as well as office space, including the emissions associated with servers and data centres. This will allow you to get a full picture of your emissions profile. Use this to underpin science-based targets to reduce emissions towards net zero.

Assess your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) requirements and identify opportunities to reduce demand. For example, match your ventilation to demand and don’t let heating and cooling run at the same time.

Investigate ways to reduce the emissions associated with data processing. For example, make sure you know where your data is stored. Also check the energy used to run the data centres is 100% renewable. Reuse waste heat in your own heating system or supply it for use in a local district heating network If you are a big energy consumer. Consider buying renewable electricity directly from new renewable projects.

Use the large power demand linked to data processing to provide grid balancing services and/or aim to reduce power consumption during peak periods.

Rollout ‘dematerialisation’ or ‘virtualisation’ practices, where a physical server is converted into multiple virtual ones within the same asset. Without this, servers only use a small part of their processing power. This process increases use of the physical asset and decreases the need for multiple physical servers. As a result, the embodied carbon and energy consumption linked with multiple physical servers is reduced.

Maximise use of IT hardware assets so that there’s minimum requirement for replacement and generation of electronic waste.

Consider full product lifecycle of IT hardware and equipment. Look for low-energy products from manufacturers consciously working to reduce their carbon emissions. Make sure you have a responsible end-of-life solution in place that allows for the safe reuse and recycling of components.

Ensure IT hardware and equipment are energy efficient and staff are trained on energy efficient practices (for example turning devices off overnight).

Reduce emissions linked to travel and encourage active travel – for example, reduce air travel, encourage alternative transportation, encourage ‘telecommuting’.

Work with clients and customers to develop ICT solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. For example, smart logistics or transferring to e-commerce platforms.

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