Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI)
- Date submitted: 31 Oct 2011
- Stakeholder type: Major Group
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document:
GeSI response to public consultation on Rio+20
The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), representing over 30 of the world?s leading vendors and
service providers of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, welcomes the
opportunity to provide input to the public consultation on Rio+20. Our response addresses two
areas: cooperation mechanisms and implementation tools that encourage transformative ICT
solutions, and the expected outcomes of Rio+20.
1. Cooperation mechanisms and implementation tools that encourage transformative ICT solutions
It is imperative that two decades on from the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro the discussions on
sustainable development take into account today?s societal and technology contexts. GeSI is calling
on all Rio+20 stakeholders to fully recognise and take advantage of the role of transformative ICT
solutions in fostering sustainable development and addressing 21st century challenges like climate
change. Companies should no longer only be seen as a source of environmental problems, but
certain sectors, such as ICT, should also be viewed as solution providers and ?positive? contributors
to the sustainability debate.
In particular, GeSI appeals to Rio+20 stakeholders to:
? Ensure that Rio+20 recommendations and structures created do not ignore, or undermine,
emerging ICT solutions.
? Take advantage of existing and widely deployed ICT infrastructure. Most countries have
national ICT and broadband plans, yet the utilisation of this infrastructure to deploy
services and solutions that benefit sustainable development is largely untapped.
? Create an enabling policy framework that supports the deployment of ICT to deliver
solutions, for example, in the areas of e-health, smart grids, transport and mobility, food
2. Expectations for the outcome of Rio+20
GeSI?s expectations for the outcome of Rio+20 relate to a number of areas. Specifically, we call on
? Focus on delivering the services that society needs, and not necessarily the traditional
ways of providing them.
? Recognise the importance of including transformative ICT solutions in Rio+20 outcome
documents and processes.
? Set targets for sustainability contributions of transformative ICT solutions.
? Encourage a policy framework that includes transformative ICT solutions.
? Encourage engagement of the private sector, in particular to foster innovation and
dematerialisation perspectives through modern technological advances.
Transformative ICT Solutions
The landmark report ?SMART 2020: Enabling the Low-Carbon Economy in the Information Age? gave
a clear picture of the key role that the ICT industry plays in addressing climate change globally and
facilitating efficient and low-carbon development. While ICT?s own sector emissions will nearly
double by 2020, the strategic application and diffusion of ICT solutions in other business sectors can
reduce total global emissions by as much as 15 per cent. These savings are five times larger than the
total expected emissions from the entire ICT industry and with more focus on transformative
solutions this contribution could be significantly larger.
Examples of sectors where transformative solutions can help reduce emissions by 80 per cent or
? Smart transportation: Radio tags can be attached to items in a cargo and their journey tracked
from manufacturer to warehouse and to shop. This makes it easier to move goods and stock more
efficiently. Using ICT could help cut emissions from distribution and transportation by 1.52 billion
tonnes. ICT can also facilitate decentralised and on-demand production that reduces the need for
transport and storage to almost zero. In a similar way ICT can make commuting much more efficient
while teleworking is even better and can support a much more resource efficient way of working.
? Smart grids: Connected electricity supply grids can be controlled so that energy is sent to industries
and homes in the most efficient way, accelerating the uptake of renewable energy. By 2020, this
could reduce carbon emissions by two billion tonnes. Smart grids can also support decentralised
renewable energy distribution and the accelerated uptake of electric cars.
? Smart buildings: By using ICT in buildings for managing light and heat systems, resources consumption
can be adapted to match demand in real time. Smart buildings could save 1.7 billion tonnes
of emissions. ICT can also help a shift in approach where connected buildings in cities become net
producers of renewable energy.
? Smart motor systems: In factories, the motors used to power machines such as pumps or conveyor
belts can be made ?intelligent? through the use of ICTs. With ICTs, emissions from motor systems
could be reduced by 0.97 billion tonnes of carbon emissions, worth EUR ?68 billion.
? Dematerialisation: Further savings can be achieved from the potential of ICTs to enable
dematerialisation- replacing high-carbon physical products and services with virtual alternatives. For
example, e-commerce leads to dramatic reductions of physical transport and could avoid more than
a billion tonnes of carbon emissions. Virtual meetings and remote working will also significantly
reduce carbon emissions caused by travel, saving half a billion ton of carbon emissions without any