Thursday, 30 September 2010

Australian IT industry has published a white paper on ICT as a low carbon enabler

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has produced a white paper (actually more of a report, given it’s 69 pages) to put the message across that ICT innovations will deliver significant CO2 reductions for Australia.

The AIIA has identified five major priority areas that focus on the delivery of a high technology, low carbon future for Australia:

1) The Australian Government should work with the technology industry to identify and resource key programs that will encourage the rapid take-up of smart ICT-based technologies.

2) Australian state governments should make adoption of the digital economy a key priority in their development programs and embrace CO2 reduction strategies in their policies.

3) The Australian business sector should demonstrate global leadership in its adoption of ICT for the reduction of carbon emissions.

4) The local ICT industry should promote products and services for the reduction of energy across the economy.

5) All sectors and government agencies should develop specific agreed action plans through a national ICT Sustainability Summit event early in 2011.

This report, which looks at the best ICT enablement opportunities, is based on a number of other reports and papers on the subject. The AIIA identified over 30 such sources and has referenced six key reports in the white paper, including the Smart 2020 report from The Climate Group and GeSI and the Ten Point Checklist ICT and Environment published by the OECD.

The conclusion from the analysis is that there are seven main areas where ICT can make a significant contribution to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions:

• Green ICT. The ICT industry itself is a significant consumer of energy and generator of e-waste. Products need to be sustainably designed and managed to impact less on the environment. The implementation of a National Broadband Network (NBN) is seen as a means to improved efficiencies.

• Energy Production and Distribution. Smart grids and smart metering will become increasingly important, offering the ability to use and distribute electricity more intelligently and cost-effectively.

• Transport and Logistics.  Much more can be done around Supply Chain Management (SCM), particularly in facilitating open communication channels between transportation networks.

• Building Management Systems. The inefficient heating and cooling systems of commercial, industrial and domestic buildings is one of the key areas of potential improvement.

• Industrial Processes. Additional efficiency gains are now available through advanced process control initiatives, using intelligent ICT analytics to provide real-time feedback to maximise equipment effectiveness and overall efficiencies.

• Health. ICT-enabled improvements through the use of such technologies as remote diagnostics and electronic patient records.

• Education. By offering the ability to deliver, assess
and monitor educational training in a more efficient and effective manner, ICT provides a more sustainable model for the industry.

There’s a lot more detail on each of these areas in the report, which is available here.


I like this research partly because it doesn’t re-invent the wheel. Much of the basis for the analysis is well known – the Smart 2020 report, for example, was published over two years ago. What this paper does is focus on the known areas where ICT can enable a greener economy and puts them in the Australian context, both in terms of potential impact and the relevance to current and future legislation. Let’s hope the new government will pay attention.

© The Green IT Review

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