Have you ever heard of digital pollution? If not, we recommend you read this article before continuing.
Information and communication technologies (ICT) have revolutionized many aspects of daily life, but their massive use has also led to an increase in energy consumption and electronic waste production, which as you can imagine, has consequences for the environment.
Managing the environmental impacts of digital technology is an important issue for companies in Europe. It can affect brand image, social responsibility, and profitability. Like consumers, regulations impose expectations on the industry. The French Energy Transition for Green Growth law of 2015 imposes obligations on companies regarding the management of their electronic and computer equipment and provides for penalties for non-compliance. Companies that do not comply with these rules may face fines of up to €75,000.
In Europe and France, several regulations have been put in place to regulate digital pollution and promote sustainable use of ICT:
In Europe, where do we stand?
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive: This directive was established in Europe in 2003 and updated in 2012 to address the issues of electronic waste management. It concerns all member countries of the European Union.
Its aim is to reduce the environmental impact of electronic waste and promote recycling and the valorization of end-of-life products. It therefore requires producers and distributors of electronic equipment to take responsibility for the collection, treatment, and valorization of waste resulting from their products.
Energy Efficiency Directive: Adopted by the European Union in 2012 and revised in 2018. It concerns all member states of the European Union.
The directive objective is to improve energy efficiency throughout the European Union by setting binding targets to reduce energy consumption. It aims to encourage member states to adopt measures in key sectors of the economy, such as building, transportation, industry, and energy-related products.
Eco-design Directive: The eco-design directive was adopted by the European Union in 2005 and revised in 2009 and 2019. It concerns all member states of the European Union.
The aim of the eco-design directive is to improve the design of energy-related products, such as electronic and electrical equipment, to reduce their environmental impact throughout the life cycle, from raw material extraction to end-of-life.
Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD): The objective of the CSRD directive is to strengthen transparency and accountability of sustainability for companies in Europe. It requires large companies to disclose additional information on their social, environmental, and governance (ESG) performance. This will allow stakeholders such as investors, consumers, employees, and regulators to better understand how companies contribute to sustainable development.
From 2024, this new directive will replace the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) with new measures:
• More companies are affected. Currently, about 11,000 companies are subject to this reporting obligation, but in 2024, the directive will apply to 49,000 companies.
• Reporting standards that detail and regulate the nature and format of information to be published.
• A common digital format for all companies.
• An obligation to audit information by an independent third party.
France, a major player in the transformation
The REEN Law (Reducing the Environmental Footprint of Digital Technology): It aims to engage France’s energy transition towards a more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly model. It concerns the entire French territory and all of its citizens. This law also includes a section dedicated to reducing the impact of digital technology in France by providing various measures:
– The establishment of a digital roadmap aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of digital technology in France;
– The obligation for large companies in the digital sector to publish an annual report on their greenhouse gas emissions and to implement actions to reduce them;
– Promoting data centers and less energy-intensive networks: Reduced TICFE for the most virtuous data centers
– The implementation of measures to encourage repair and reuse of equipment, particularly through the extension of the legal warranty period and the creation of a repairability index;
The implementation of actions to promote digital sobriety by encouraging the reduction of energy consumption of digital equipment and data consumption.
The AGEC Law (Anti-Waste for a Circular Economy): Adopted in France in 2020, it aims to accelerate the transition to a circular economy by fighting waste and promoting reuse, recycling, and waste valorization.
This law also has a section dedicated to digital transition and reducing the environmental impact of digital technology through various practices:
The establishment of a national strategy for responsible digital technology, which should promote digital sobriety, the eco-design of digital services, the reduction of electronic waste, and the use of more durable materials in digital equipment;
– The obligation for equipment producers to set up means of collecting and recycling these equipment, to promote their reuse and valorization;
– The obligation for online sales platforms to set up systems to facilitate the donation and resale of equipment;
– The implementation of measures to encourage the reduction of energy consumption related to digital technology.
Get ahead and avoid sanctions
To respond to these challenges, you can implement different strategies:
• Adopt a Green IT strategy and its best practices
• Adopt environmental quality standards such as ISO 14001 (it is the reference tool for taking into account the environmental issues of your organization in order to improve your overall environmental performance)
• Invest in Green IT and IT for Green: Technology is also at the service of the environment and can help you reduce your environmental impact. For example, Cleaq, a FinTech for responsible IT to manage your IT fleet, or Sopht, a platform that allows IT organizations to dynamically manage their environmental footprint and automate their decarbonization trajectory.
At Sopht, we created a GreenOps solution that is the perfect way to help the environment, update your digital infrastructure and improve your finances all at once. Because going green isn’t just about being environmentally conscious; it’s about saving money, too. We offer multi-cloud monitoring to rationalize your infrastructure and related costs by measuring and comparing your different Cloud Providers environmental efficiency. Our IT asset management services allow you to consolidate, organize and pilot all data related to your IT inventory (laptops, screens, smartphones, routers…) to better amortize your carbon and financial footprint. This helps us understand how your users are interacting with their devices so that you can better manage your IT assets and plan for decarbonization.
Contact us for a demo of our new end-to-end platform.