A new partnership to unlock the ICT sector’s potential to save emissions

17 June 2012

Molly Webb, Head of Smart Technologies, The Climate Group, writes about our new partnership with ISEP and the other exciting ICT events happening at Rio+20 this week.

Rio+20 is underway… and today, Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, is speaking in Rio at the UN Global Compact Sustainability Forum to announce a new partnership to unlock barriers to the ICT-industry’s opportunityto save 15% of global emissions in 2020, mainly through enabling energy efficiency in sectors like transport, energy, industry and buildings

Why? Today, 5 billion people have mobile phones. We connect to the internet to share information, work, socialize and shop. And not only will people become more connected, but 'things' will too: there could be 50 billion machine-to-machine connections in 2020. This information will make climate change visible. It will help us monitor our impacts and emissions. It will helps us optimize systems in all sectors for energy and resource efficiency

This means that Information and Communications Technologies – ICTs – are key enablers of the Clean Revolution. The Clean Revolution is the convergence of the clean tech and the information revolutions, where we need to see the massive scale up of renewables and energy efficiency that will allow us to live on the planet with the expected 9 billion people in 2050 using one tenth of today’s carbon emissions. 

But the ICT sector can’t work alone to achieve this opportunity, and there is a danger that it will not be realized. 

That’s why we’re launching the ISEP partnership today with The Digital Energy & Sustainability Solutions Campaign (DESSC), the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and the UN Foundation

The ISEP will focus on realizing the ICT industry’s important further potential and its important role in achieving the goals of the UN’s SE4All initiative: 

  • doubling energy efficiency;
  • doubling the share of renewable energy resources; and 
  • ensuring universal access to energy.
Together, we will document and share information about how ICT can save emissions in transport, for instance providing the ability to manage logistics networks or enable more renewables on the grid (via smart grids).

We will kick off at least two initiatives regionally by early 2013 – with countries such as Brazil or China or the US – to overcome barriers to solutions. We’ve got a track record of working on policy areas such as consumer access to energy information. 

We will put in place clear ways to track progress of the partnership over time, showing how ICTs are actually making an impact on emissions reductions.

On Sunday, June 17, 2012 at Rio+20, chief sustainability officers from BT and Siemens and the CEO of PassivSystems will all be on our Rio Forward: Transformative solutions for a green economy panel at 2pm, and will speak specifically to some of these opportunities. 

And on June 21, DESSC is hosting The App Store for Sustainability [see the webcast] session with Rob Bernard of Microsoft, Bruno Berthon of Accenture, Steve Harper of DESSC and Intel, Cynthia Curtis of CA Technologies, Clay Nesler of JCI and The Climate Group.

We look forward to making the ISEP a platform for concrete policy initiatives in the coming years.


Tonight at 4pm BRT/8pm BST, don't miss our live Twitter Q&A with BT's Chief Sustainability Officer Niall Dunne on ICT for better futures for all. Just use the hashtag #CleanRevolution to follow the conversation or ask questions.

See our SMART 2020 report for more on the 15% opportunity.

And learn more about The Clean Revolution Campaign 

Follow @ClimateGroup, @MarkKenber, @LucBas1, @SamuelRamsden and #CleanRevolution for live-tweeting during Rio+20. 

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