Measuring the impact of digital solutions on the climate

The European Green Digital Coalition has published new methodologies to measure the net impact of digital solutions on the climate.

The European Green Digital Coalition (EGDC) has released science-based methodologies and guidance to measure the impact of digital solutions in reducing and avoiding greenhouse gas emissions across different sectors. This represents a milestone for Europe’s twin digital and green transitions, advancing the EU towards climate neutrality and digital leadership.

The new science-based methodologies and guidance will empower stakeholders in Europe and the wider world to make informed decisions when deploying ICT solutions. They are key to driving sustainability and digital innovation across different sectors.

The methodologies can be used not only by companies, but also by local authorities and financial institutions, to deploy and finance innovative digital solutions that have a net positive impact on the climate and bring with them economic benefits.

The publication of these results fulfils one of the EGDC’s main goals, to develop science-based methods to estimate the net environmental impact of digital solutions in different areas. The methodologies look at both the positive contribution and the direct carbon footprint of different digital solutions.

The EGDC was supported by an EU-funded European Parliament Pilot Project. The published results have been validated by an independent high-level board of experts.

The publications

The publications consist of 3 documents:

  1. Net Carbon Impact Assessment Methodology for ICT Solutions, including sector specific methodologies
  2. Real Life Case Studies
  3. Deployment Guidelines

The Net Carbon Impact Assessment Methodology for ICT Solutions lies at the core of the EGDC publications. It contains requirements for comparing scenarios with and without ICT solutions in a given context, allowing us to accurately quantify the positive contribution and direct footprint – in CO2 equivalent – of a specific digital solution.

It is complemented by sector-specific methodologies illustrating the practical application of each requirement for 6 sectors: energy, construction/buildings, smart cities, agriculture, transport and manufacturing.

The real-life case studies in all 6 sectors helped to refine and illustrate the impact of the methodologies. They were collected from EGDC members and stakeholders deploying ICT solutions. These include cloud-based tools for the energy management in buildings, 5G-enabled manufacturing and agriculture, smart energy and smart city platforms, and more.

Finally, the deployment guidelines were drawn up to enhance the understanding of the deployment of ICT solutions in different sectors. They include guidance on optimising their positive impact on the climate, and minimising negative consequences.

Next steps

Following the publication of these methodologies, the EGDC hopes to see adoption by a wide range of industrial and societal actors to help them in using ICT as a tool to improve their environmental footprint.

The adoption of these methodologies can also help to create a vibrant market for digital innovation that benefits people, the economy and the environment.

Following the publication of the results of the pilot project, the EGDC will deepen its cross-sectoral dialogue and expand support services to stakeholders across the EU economy, including SMEs, the finance sector, and public authorities.

Source: European Commission (Shaping Europe’s digital future) |News & Views (