ITU: ICT industry must reduce emissions by 45% by 2030

By Ellen Daniel

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has published a new set of standards aimed at reducing the ICT industry’s greenhouse emissions.

The ITU is a United Nations agency responsible for the information and communication technologies industry.

The ITU L.1470 standards recommend that, if the industry is going to meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement, it will need to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030.

The Paris Agreement is a commitment signed by 196 states to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

ITU standard to help cut ICT emissions

The standard, developed in collaboration with the Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative, GMSA and the Science Based Target Initiative, will support ICT companies in reducing emissions.

“This new ITU standard offers authoritative guidance on the pathway towards net zero emissions for the ICT industry,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “The standard is an example of what can be achieved with good collaboration between key partners. It represents a significant contribution to the international effort in pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

The standard puts forward guidance intended to support “operators of mobile networks, fixed networks and datacentres” in setting emission-reduction targets, in line with the latest climate science. These are the first targets for the ICT industry approved by the Science Based Target Initiative.

29 operator groups, including AT&T, Vodafone, Verizon and Deutsche Telekom have already committed to reducing emissions, and it is hoped that the new standards will enable additional companies to do the same.

In a statement, the ITU said:

“The shift to renewable and low-carbon energy is expected to account for the majority of the ICT industry’s GHG emission reductions over the 2020-2030 timeframe. ICT companies will also continue to achieve greater energy efficiency, incentivized by associated cost savings as well as revenue-generation opportunities stemming from ICTs’ increasing ability to improve energy efficiency in other industry sectors.”


Read more: Amazon launches three green energy projects as part of Climate Pledge.