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Green Standards Week: joining forces for global change
By: Ray Pinto, Senior Government Affairs Manager
02 October 2012

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The United Nation’s arm for Telecommunications, known as the ITU, the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, global thought leaders in government, and NGOs came together in Paris to understand what role ICT can play to tackle threats to our planet and ecosystem. The objective of the 2nd Annual Green Standards Week provided detailed analysis on how to measure the carbon emissions caused by ICT and its multiplier effect to abate greenhouse gases outside its industry.

Dr Peter Thomond, of ThinkPlayDo, leading a study for the Imperial College London in cooperation with Harvard and Reading Universities, demonstrated that for every tonne of CO2 emissions created by vendors to supply cloud-based email, customer relationship management (CRM) and groupware services, 20 tonnes are abated on the client side. The week-long conference, hosted in Microsoft offices, covered a range of sustainability challenges including: ICT solutions and energy efficiency, reduction of greenhouse gases emissions and e-waste, legislation of ICT standards, as well as, submarine communication networks for climate monitoring and disaster warning.

As a result of discussions, leading specialists in the field, from top policy-makers to engineers, academics, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, and standards experts have made several recommendations aimed at the whole community of stakeholders:

  • Encourage technology transfer and dissemination by developing best practices and standards in green technologies that can be easily accessible especially for developing countries, and respect intellectual property rights.

  • Increase awareness and promote information sharing on the role of ICTs in enhancing environmental sustainability, in particular by promoting the use of more energy efficient devices and networks and more efficient working methods, as well as ICTs that can be used to replace or displace higher energy consuming technologies and uses.

  • Accelerate the benefits of smart technologies through policies that encourage international data transfer, processing and storage.

More detailed information can be found on ITU web-page as well as on The Official Blog of Microsoft's Environmental Sustainability team.

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