Greening ICT4D

Today, on #WorldEnvironmentDay, we reflect on how the ICT4D sector can reduce its impact on the climate and environment. While it’s true that digital technology can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, it’s equally important to acknowledge the environmental impact of the global digital transformation.

During a recent panel discussion on “Greening ICT4D” at the 12th ICT4D Conference in Ghana, experts highlighted the critical role digital technology plays in both mitigating and contributing to climate change.


Watch the panel discussion

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Onica Makwakwa from the Global Digital Inclusion Partnership (GDIP) emphasized the interconnected nature of climatic and digital inequalities and stressed the importance of simultaneously investing in sustainable digital infrastructure and environmental issues. She advocated for integrated policy approaches, such as “dig once” policies and infrastructure sharing, to reduce environmental impact and costs.

Morten Risgaard from Danoffice IT underscored the necessity for the ICT sector to adopt sustainable practices throughout the product lifecycle, from manufacturing to end-of-life management. He highlighted efforts to push manufacturers towards using renewable energy and promote recycling and reusing IT equipment, as a significant portion of the CO2 footprint arises from the user phase.

Mariela Machado from The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) brought attention to the growing resource demands of generative AI and data centers, urging the industry to adopt greener infrastructure. She noted AI’s dual role in both increasing energy consumption and offering solutions to reduce it. She also stressed the need for practical standards and case studies to guide the integration of green practices in digital technology, particularly in developing regions with inconsistent energy and connectivity infrastructure.

All speakers emphasized the need for strategic planning, advocacy, and collaboration to address the environmental impacts of ICT in our interconnected and complex world. It was obvious that our sector is increasing its awareness and efforts toward a greener digital infrastructure and reduced technology carbon footprint.



Interested in more practical advice on making ICT4D green?

Read Nora Lindström’s article:

Making ICT4D Green: Three Focus Areas for Improving the Environmental Impact of the Information and Communication Technology for Development Sector