ITU and ETSI align environmental impact methodology

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Standard gives industry a uniform way to measure climate impact

Geneva, 28 May 2014 – A standardized way 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 sectors, has been agreed by ITU and the European Telecommunication Standardization Institute (ETSI).

The jointly developed specification has been created in acknowledgement of the importance of providing industry with tools to provide a lifecycle assessment of the environmental impact of its activities. The collaboration was, in part, driven by a need to avoid a proliferation of methodologies which would cause confusion to the industry.

It is widely acknowledged that ICTs have an environmental impact at every lifecycle stage. But ICTs can also enable vast efficiencies through the provision of digital solutions that can cut energy consumption and improve inventory management and business processes  by, for example, reducing travel and transportation.

Dr Hamadoun I.Touré, Secretary-General, ITU: “Policymakers have demanded a standard, and this is exactly what’s needed to ensure that the assessment and reporting of environmental impacts becomes the norm across the ICT industry. Cooperation between standards bodies is a key factor in ensuring an efficient, coordinated approach.” 

Beniamino Gorini, Chairman of ETSI TC-EE: “The Methodology for Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of 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 an efficient collaboration between ITU-T Study Group 5 (Environment and climate change) and the ETSI Technical Committee on Environmental Engineering (ETSI TC EE).”

Paolo Gemma, Chairman of Working Party 3 of ITU-T Study Group 5: “This new standard is just one of the various standards planned to be developed in joint activities by the two organizations in the next two to three years. Effective and coordinated action from standards bodies will provide the business community with more clarity regarding available standards and specifications under development.”

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

A significant improvement to the new text is clearer examples of how the methodology should be applied, a feature that was added following feedback from the European Commission trial of the various methodologies, including ITU-T Recommendation L.1410 and former ETSI TS 103 199.

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