Assessing the environmental impact of the ICT sector

The ICT sector contributes to greenhouse gas emissions comparable to the aviation industry, but can reduce its carbon footprint through renewable energy and energy-efficient practices.

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The global ICT sector is a driving force behind economic growth, innovation, and global connectivity, but it also emits significant greenhouse gases, according to the latest report from Allianz Research.

Estimates show that the ICT sector accounted for 1.8 to 2.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020, and in a ‘business-as-usual scenario’, it is projected to reach 830 million metric tons of CO2 by 2030. The report points to reassuring decarbonisation efforts in the ICT sector. Adopting renewable energy sources and energy-efficient practices can help reduce the sector’s carbon footprint. Many tech companies set carbon-neutrality and net-zero targets, while some extend product life cycles.

Decarbonising cryptocurrency should be at the top of the agenda, says the report. Blockchain technology, which underpins cryptocurrencies, can also support climate action by enabling transparent emissions tracking and facilitating a trustworthy Voluntary Carbon Market.

Consumer behaviour in using ICT devices contributes to the majority of emissions, making it necessary for policymakers to implement regulations or incentives to drive emission reduction measures. Top-down mandates may be required to enforce these changes.