19 October, 2015

ETNO ThinkDigital Blog Post - Saving the climate and driving economic growth at the speed of light.

ICT has the potential to enable a 20% reduction of global CO2 emissions by 2030” #ThinkDigital

ETNO is well aware of the importance of the outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference COP21, on which great expectations are placed by businesses, governments and civil society. COP21 is expected to mark a milestone in the global fight against climate change. 

Climate change is affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives at the cost of people, communities and countries. Scientists say that if we act now there is still hope of preventing the situation from getting worse: a wide array of technological measures and changes in behaviour will limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The EU has committed to this target.

Strangely enough, ICT based solutions are very seldom, if at all, included amongst such measures. The sector has always been considered part of the problem, when in fact its positive contribution can be substantial and should not be neglected.

ETNO was the first organisation to spread this message: in 2006, the Association developed a roadmap, jointly with WWF, that demonstrated that in order to achieve dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions, substantial structural changes in infrastructure, lifestyles and business practice are necessary, and that there is potential for the ICT sector to provide leadership.

Such potential was further investigated by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), of which ETNO is a founding member, in its SMART2020 and SMARTer2020 studies, published in 2008 and 2012 respectively, that confirmed and added further detailed evidence to what ETNO had initiated. GeSI has now just launched the latest study of the SMART series, the SMARTer2030, which comes to the conclusion that ICT has the potential to enable a 20% reduction of global CO2 emissions by 2030, holding emissions at 2015 levels. And along with that comes an incredible potential for economic growth that would spread across society and all sectors of the economy. Facts and figures can be found here.

Establishing effective partnerships with public administrations and emitting, energy-intensive sectors of the economy will be crucial, and will fulfill the expectations and the recommendations of the EU Digital Agenda, as well as contribute to the successful deployment of the Digital Single Market.

Next week, during the ETNO-GeSI conference “Driving our Sustainable Future through ICT”, ETNO will  launch its 2015 Climate Change Report. The report will provide examples of what ETNO member companies are doing to reduce their own carbon footprint, in accordance with the commitment they took by signing the Association’s Corporate Responsibility Charter. The report will show how they address risks and seize opportunities to act responsibly. It will also showcase some new services and solutions aimed at the public and private sectors, which can contribute to increasing efficiency and help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

ETNO member companies believe that the private sector has a responsibility to actively engage in global efforts to reduce GHG emissions, and to help lead the global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. ETNO would therefore welcome a binding agreement coming out of COP21, based on sound scientific evidence and setting reasonable targets aimed at limiting temperature rise to acceptable levels and avoiding climate related disasters in the future.

Needless to say that such an agreement should also take into account the potential of telecommunications and ICT in decarbonising the economy: ETNO member companies are ready and willing to contribute and make sure that such potential does not remain untapped.

By Danilo Riva for ETNO #ThinkDigital, 19.10.2015

For more information, register to attend the ETNO-GeSI event “Driving our Sustainable Future through ICT”, during which ETNO’s Climate Change Report will be published.

Full programme and registration link can be found here.


Danilo Riva, Sustainability Manager, Telecom Italia and Chair of ETNO’s Corporate Responsibility Working Group

Danilo Riva was born in Torino, Italy in 1954. He received a degree in applied physics from the University of Torino in 1978, and in the same year, joined Telecom Italia’s research labs (CSELT/TILab; He was head of the Environment and Energy unit from 1996 to 2001 and was then appointed EHS head in the NW territorial area, a position he held from 2003 to 2009. Currently Danilo is Sustainability manager at Telecom Italia, with specific responsibilities on environmental and supply chain issues and international cooperation. Danilo has chaired the Corporate Responsibility Working Group of the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) since 1997, and is one of the founders of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative, where he is currently member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer.

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