Green ICT Resource Center
Designing environmentally sustainable electronics will be essential to the future of the electronics industry in a resource-constrained world and will secure the ability of an increasing, and increasingly well-off, population to enjoy their benefits for time to come. Advances in green design, green chemistry, recycling technologies, smart infrastructures, developments in extended producer responsibility, and similar innovations can all serve as a foundation for the transformative leaps that can lead to a sustainable high-tech industry.
The Green ICT (information and communication technology) Resource Center is an ever-growing source of data, information and perspective about Sustainable ICT. It provides design engineers, environmental managers, academics and those involved in the standards development process with a central repository of information to both enhance the exchange of information and to attempt to establish a broad common base of understanding about the opportunities and challenges in the path to sustainable ICT. This understanding makes possible the development of key questions for research and the definition of the requirements for the roadmap to sustainable ICT.
This space aims to explore how we can move toward ICT that will meet expanding demand, enhance the sustainability of human society, and be benign to the environment and people.
The topical areas highlighted below are selected by the Green Electronics Council for being key to achieving sustainable ICT and for which projects are underway or being developed. Other topics may be added later.
The path to true sustainable development requires that we find a way to both increase access to Information and Communication Technology and the services it provides, while exponentially reducing the environmental impacts associated with electronic products themselves.
The efficient use of energy is a critical focus for the sustainability of ICT products, in both use-phase and embedded energy.
Some substances used in ICT devices are known to be toxic to people or ecosystems; the hazards of other chemicals are unknown.
ICT products themselves need to provide longer practical utilization time, while also meeting consumer demand for improving technologies. Manufacturers hold the first responsibility for life extension, but a wide-spread infrastructure will be necessary to achieve this goal.
Effective management of the supply chain enables manufacturers to demand and assure the clean and safe production of their products. Supply chain transparency – detailed reporting on efforts to drive environmental and worker health and safety measures through their ‘long tail’ — enables customers and advocates to hold electronics brand owners accountable for their claims.
ICT devices contain a great variety of materials, some of which may in time become scarce or otherwise critical. The embedded resources in ICT devices will need to be managed intelligently across the entire product life cycle, rather than used once and then wasted.