Digital industry must set aggressive environmental goals

The digital industry must set its own aggressive goals and not rely on Government regulation if it is to combat increasing energy consumption levels, says Hewlett-Packard director of environmental sustainability.

Having recently set itself a 20% decrease in its first-tier manaufacturing and product transportation-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity by 2020, the company’s director of environmental sustainability EMEA, Kirstie McIntyre told edie that the whole industry must follow suite.

“The industry has a responsibility to ensure the products it’s putting out there are as energy efficient as possible. But it must also take into consideration other impacts, like the chemicals and materials that are used in these products,” said McIntyre.

“Our industry has to set some aggressive goals because we don’t expect these goals to come from anywhere else. I don’t think policy will be able to keep up with the rate of change in such a dynamic industry and market,” she added.

McIntyre’s call for stronger efficiency in the industry follows a recent report by technology investment and advisory firm, Digital Power Group, which suggests that because of the increasing use of mobile data the digital economy is now approaching a tenth of the world’s electricity use.

According to the report, the world’s Information Communications Technologies (ICT) ecosystem uses about 1,500 TWh of electricity annually, equal to all the electricity generated in Japan and Germany combined and as much electricity as was used for global illumination in 1985.

“Our industry needs to think futuristically about the changes that are coming and what technology can bring us,” said McIntyre.

Kirstie McIntyre will be one of the speakers at this year’s Sustainability Leaders Forum – for more information visit the website.

Leigh Stringer

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