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ICTs for a Sustainable World #ICT4SDG

Question 16/5

Question 16/5 – Leveraging and enhancing the ICT environmental sustainability
(New Question)


ITU-T SG5 has produced Recommendations allowing organizations to estimate their environmental impacts and to publish their assessment results. Specific documents (labelling programme, eco-rating guidance ...) are intended to complement these methodologies addressing the various aspects in the commercial life of industry.

The use of these Recommendations should also allow end users to make more informed choices, when confronted with a plethora of figures, announcements or eco-labels which prove to be difficult to compare one with the others.

To build upon the work carried out in ITU-T SG 5, further work is needed to address these additional and new areas of concern for all stakeholders in the ICT sector including:

  • Effects of using standards on environmental assessment practices in the ICT sector when reducing its environmental impact including inter-alia Greenhouse Gas emissions and energy consumption;
  • Need for more consistent and standardized eco-friendly procurement practices for the ICT sector;
  • Analysis of programmes made available to the ICT end-users helping them to take purchasing decisions (eco-labels, ...);
  • Analysis of stakeholders’ acceptance of methods to assess the environmental impacts in the ICT supply chain.

The following Recommendation, in force at the time of approval of this Question, falls under its responsibility:

  • None


Study items to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • What are the principles, benefits, drawbacks underlying the creation of a worldwide database containing key indicators and/or emission factors?
  • Should this database be a unique repository of data or a selection of already developed databases?
  • What are the key characteristics of a valuable eco-rating programme that address industry, government and end user concerns?
  • How have eco-rating programmes evolved and how should they evolve to ensure global consistency, a fair playing field as well as adequate information to end-users?
  • How to estimate the added value of an eco-rating programme for all stakeholders?
  • What are the ICT procurement practices that intend to enhance environmental sustainability?


Tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Develop Recommendations on a methodology to assess the added value of an eco-rating programme. It should include a review of the information provided to the end user such as:
    • GHG emissions and energy consumption (including manufacturer and service providers);
    • Material utilization;
    • Environmental sustainability communication;
    • Access to a worldwide emission factors database.
  • Develop Recommendations that promote and provide guidance on ICT procurement practices that enhance environmental sustainability;
  • Develop Recommendations that assess and promote environmental sustainability within the ICT supply chain.

An up-to-date status of work under this Question is contained in the SG 5 work programme (use URL as shown in the table below).




  • None


  • 13, 14 and 15, 17, 19/5

Study Groups:

  • ITU-T SGs 9, 13, 15 and 16
  • ITU-D SGs
  • ITU-R SGs

Standardization bodies:

  • IEC, ISO, ETSI, GHG Protocol Initiative, GSMA