It’s the result of collaboration between The Carbon Trust (the UK government’s low-carbon agency), the World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) – the two organisations behind the Greenhouse Protocol Initiative - and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), responsible for the Smart 2020 report. NGOs, government experts and academics will be involved and ICT companies are also being recruited.
The GeSI, which is an ICT industry organisation, is leading the promotion of the initiative to the industry and a number of major ICT companies have apparently already given their support. The guidance, due at the end of the year, is expected to encourage companies to measure, report, and reduce the carbon footprint of their ICT products and services.
The guidance will be published as an ICT Sector Supplement to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Accounting and Reporting Standard, part of the GHG Protocol Initiative, the widely adopted emissions accounting and reporting standard.
Hugh Jones, Managing Director Advisory Services, Carbon Trust, commented, “This is an important project which will provide ICT companies worldwide with a much-needed, consistent and credible way to measure the carbon impact of their products and services.”
It’s a move to be welcomed. It’s by no means straightforward, as readers will know from previous blogs. There are various approaches and methodologies by a number of organisations, often with their own agendas. It makes comparisons difficult and that’s one of the main benefits of counting in the first place.
It’s not clear at this stage exactly what will be included in this guidance. One danger is that it might cause some confusion in the market, with existing emissions reduction guidelines or with current product assessments such as that from Energy Star.
What’s different here, though, is that it has a group of heavyweight organisations behind it. Between them they have the skill and experience to come up with a effective guidance, the ICT industry tie-in to give it credibility in the industry and the GHG Protocol’s existing user base to help ensures the guidance will reach a wide audience.