Green IT

Le Vendredi 12 janvier 2024

At a time when climate change has an ever-greater impact on the lives of citizens and businesses, accelerating the ecological transition has become a necessity, particularly concerning digital technology. In 2020, the digital sector accounted for 2.5% of France’s annual carbon footprint and 10% of its yearly electricity consumption. Without any action, projections point to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions of more than 45% by 2030. Facing this rapid digitalization, France stands at the forefront of integrating ecological responsibility into the digital realm, pioneering a comprehensive approach to address the environmental impacts of digital technologies. Recognizing the significant contribution of the digital sector to the country’s carbon footprint and electricity consumption, France has acknowledged the urgent need to meld digital and ecological transitions. This necessity has been amplified by the increasing impacts of climate change on both citizens and businesses.

France as a Pioneer in Green IT Policy

Central to France’s strategy are key legislative pieces like the Anti-Waste and Circular Economy Law (AGEC) (2020) and the 2021 law aimed at reducing the digital sector’s environmental footprint (REEN). The AGEC Regulation aims at informing consumers about the environmental impact of their digital consumption, alongside mandatory reparability and durability indexes for digital products. In addition, the REEN law focuses on raising awareness, promoting reuse and recycling, adopting sustainable digital practices, and encouraging energy-efficient data centers. Finally, measures to extend the lifespan of digital products, such as mandatory spare parts availability and enhanced warranties for repaired goods, reflect a commitment to a circular economy.
These laws are supported by government roadmaps and initiatives, such as the “Digital and the Environment strategy,” which sets a clear path towards a sustainable digital sector.

Pioneering and Key Actions:

France’s approach encompasses several dimensions:

  • France’s initiative to decarbonize its digital sector: initiated in late 2022 and part of the Climate and Resilience Law, the project involves creating a roadmap to reduce the digital sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. By July 2023, digital industry stakeholders submitted an initial roadmap proposal to public authorities as part of ecological planning. This process involved all stakeholders in the value chain, allowing each to identify key levers to reduce the sector’s carbon footprint.
  • Energy-saving measures: a “sobriety plan” was launched the end of 2022 with specific energy saving commitments pledged by digital industry players.
  • Strategic and political initiatives: The High Level Committee for Green Digititalization (HCNE) guides France’s strategic direction in this domain, involving a diverse range of stakeholders in steering green digital initiatives and co-chaired by the Minister for Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion, the Minister for Energy Transition, and the Minister Delegate for Digital Transition and Telecommunications.
  • France 2030: Accelerating funds available for sustainable digitalization: Under the France 2030 banner, a call for project aims to catalyze innovation in eco-design, circular economy, and digital sobriety. This initiative underscores France’s commitment to leading the digital sector towards a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future.
  • Territorial Strategy: Large municipalities are tasked with developing responsible digital strategies, further integrating eco-responsibility into the local governance fabric.
  • Public Sector Leadership: The state and local authorities are mandated to prioritize sustainable digital goods and services in their procurement processes, setting an example for responsible consumption.

France shows some interesting insight on how to implement a sustainable digital policy and reduce its impact on the environment. This visionary approach sets a global benchmark, illustrating the potential of harmonizing technological advancement with environmental stewardship.

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