The UN-backed International Telecommunication Union will finalize a carbon footprint standard next month for information technology (IT) products, as part of a way to promote the role of ICT in developing a low-carbon economy. The goal is to reduce ICT's own product life-cycle emissions (direct impact) and further mitigate emissions through the adoption of ICT in other sectors (indirect impact). More at Business Green and ITU.
We are interested for several reasons. CleanMetrics depends on IT to deliver sustainability solutions, so we need to be very conscious of how we are using resources -- even if we are trying to do good. We also need to reliably advise our customers on the pros and cons using IT to replace old-fashioned ways of doing business. Finally, I am personally interested in quantifying the impact of IT in the ever-expanding entertainment and social networking applications. What are the resource requirements of digital entertainment and social networking? In the long run, can IT scale sustainably to a large proportion of the world's population?