New global guidance will provide common approaches for calculating carbon emissions of ICT products and services

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies and their customers will soon have common approaches and methodologies to calculate the carbon footprints of ICT products and services thanks to industry guidance due to be published at the end of the year.

The guidance is being developed through a collaboration between the World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), and the Carbon Trust. It will also involve NGOs, government experts and academics.

GeSI is playing a leading role in bringing ICT companies on board and in promoting the initiative to the ICT industry. Already a number of major global ICT companies have committed their support.

It is expected that the new guidance will encourage companies to measure, report, and reduce the carbon footprint of their ICT products and services, thus contributing to global emission reductions.

This guidance will be published as an ICT Sector Supplement to the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Product Accounting and Reporting Standard - part of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative, which is the most widely used global accounting and reporting standard for corporate GHG emissions.

“This inclusive and transparent guidance development process will help facilitate broader engagement and buy-in from important participants in the ICT sector and enable these companies to better measure and track their performance," said Pankaj Bhatia, GHG Protocol Director, WRI, "This, in turn, can help drive more effective strategic planning and decision making and, ultimately, facilitate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions."

“Credible measurements can drive emission reductions, by increasing competition for low-carbon products and services”, stated Luis Neves, GeSI Chairman, on behalf of the ICT industry, “Establishing a framework for credible measurement of the carbon footprint of ICT products is a major step towards meeting our commitments to cut emissions, and shows that the ICT sector is serious about our commitment to the climate.”

Matthew Bateson, Managing Director for Energy and Climate at WBCSD says, “The development of guidance for the ICT sector is a positive next step to support the implementation of the GHG Protocol Product Standard. The specific guidance can lead to more comparable results and improved business decision making - reducing overall GHG impacts.”

Hugh Jones, Managing Director Advisory Services, Carbon Trust, commented, “This is an important project which will provide ICT companies worldwide with a much-needed, consistent and credible way to measure the carbon impact of their products and services. The Carbon Trust is pleased to bring to the table its experience of developing carbon footprint methodologies and of working with industries and individual businesses to assess and reduce their carbon emissions. We look forward to working in collaboration with GeSI, WRI, WBCSD and leading ICT companies.”