An action programme for a green ICT sector
Energy efficiency, sustainable development and the latest research data available all lie at the heart of the first green ICT action programme of the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
One of the aims of the action programme is to develop ways in which the environmental impact of information and communications technology and its use can be measured and controlled. The goal is to promote the efficient use of materials and energy in society and cut carbon dioxide emissions by means of products and services that rely on information and communications technology.
The basic idea behind the Ministry's green ICT action programme is for ICT to make it possible to respond to current and future economic and environmental challenges and problems relating to social wellbeing. The change, however, is associated not just with environmental opportunities, but also risks, since the ever-growing use of information and communications technologies itself places a strain on the environment.
"Viewing the ICT sector from the angle of sustainable development is an approach we can use to assess the benefits gained through the use of information and communications technology. It is also important to examine what the Finnish ICT infrastructure demands from the environment. The work is only just starting, and next year we will see in what direction the programme should start to expand," says Minister of Housing and Communications Pia Viitanen about the programme's future.
Three areas for action
The programme specifies three areas for action, relating to server centres, telecommunications networks and audiovisual services.
In the first phase of the programme, the focus will be on energy issues relating to server centres (data centres) and telecommunications networks and on the increased use of audiovisual services. The purpose is to produce research data that could lead to further action to control consumption.
The aim is to try and improve the energy efficiency of data centres by means of a new environmental category and by raising awareness of the environment. The energy needs and areas for development of information and communications networks will be explored by the end of 2015. At the same time, legislation will be examined to see if it poses any barriers to reducing energy consumption.
The same television and video content is available to consumers in different distribution channels: on TV, home computers and smart phones. The change in viewing habits is also having a major effect on the environmental costs of consumption. There is to be an assessment of the energy efficiency of different distribution channels, for example, as part of the action programme.
The green ICT action programme is part of the smart strategy in communications policy of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (Kide programme). Some of the measures under the programme already got under way within the framework of the Kide programme at the start of this government's current term of office.
When the action programme was being drawn up, stakeholders in the sector were consulted, and these will also be involved in future development work and will contribute to the programme's implementation. The action programme will expand in the years to come, and new partners are being sought all the time.
The green ICT action programme has been published by the Ministry (publication series 34/2013).
Ms Mirka Meres-Wuori, Senior Officer, tel. +358 9 0295 34 2595