ICT Boost for Sustainability, Economy & Efficiency

ICT Boost for Sustainability, Economy & Efficiency

Boosting the economy by between $35 to $80 billion. Cutting Australia’s carbon emissions by 116 Mega tonnes (annually).Creating up to 70,000 jobs. Three critical advantages identified in the  Information Communication Technology (ICT) White Paper just released, which shows how substantial economic benefits, increased efficiency and improved sustainability can be achieved.

29 September 2010

The Australian Information Industry Association today released a White Paper examining the critical role that technology will play in the reduction of CO2 emissions and the development of a low-carbon economy. The Paper, ICT’s Role in the Low Carbon Economy, was released in Sydney.

“AIIA believes there is a pressing need to focus on the economic benefits of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as we examine the case for high-speed broadband in Australia,” said AIIA CEO Ian Birks.

“This White Paper consolidates a wide range of leading research into the application of technology to a low carbon economy.”

“Green technology will play a huge role in the return we make on any investment in broadband not only economically, but also in the delivery of environmental benefits,” Mr Birks said.

The report, ICT’s Role in the Low Carbon Economy, provides a series of recommendations to the Australian government for the development of a policy framework to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.  It identifies five major areas of focus for government activity, then examines the net benefits of Green IT to seven key economic sectors and provides key recommendations in each area.

“Transitioning to a low carbon economy is a national priority and becoming increasingly important across both the public and business sectors,” continued Mr Birks.  “However the ICT sector has only played a marginal role in this debate up until the present time. ICT will have a critical role to play in delivering the right outcomes and will be central to conversations that seriously examine the low carbon economy in the future.”

The technologies outlined in the whitepaper can assist the government in meeting the commitment of a five per cent carbon emission reduction by 2020 and could, by the same deadline, bring about huge net benefits, in terms of Australian economic, environmental and social factors including:

-           Boosting the economy by between $35 to $80 billion

-           Cutting Australia’s carbon emissions by 116 Mega tonnes (annually)

-           Creating up to 70,000 jobs

“With a specific focus on sustainability and use of ICT to drive efficiency gains, a number of studies cited in this paper show how substantial economic benefits can accrue to an economy through the usage of ICT to improve sustainability,” concluded Mr Birks.

This Paper represents an increasing focus by AIIA and our members of the reality of the economic and social benefits that a digital economy in Australia will deliver. It joins the AIIA Green IT eBook – now with over 30,000 downloads – as a leading resource for the abatement of greenhouse emissions through technology.

Additional information about this White Paper

Over the last two years a number of significant research papers have been published, in Australia and internationally, that clearly identify the role ICT can play in reducing an economy’s carbon footprint. AIIA has identified over 30 reports from 20 different organisations that address these issues. These go far beyond a reduction in ICT’s own carbon emissions, which constitute around 2.7 per cent of Australia’s total[i]. Far more important is ICT’s enabling effect – its ability to reduce carbon emissions in other industries through greater efficiencies in their operations.

This White Paper references six of these reports, and draws less extensively on many others. It is also based on extensive input from key stakeholders in the Australian ICT industry – suppliers, users and consultants, putting the role of ICT and sustainability in an Australian context. The overall message is clear and consistent. Without ICT, it will be impossible to achieve the carbon emissions reductions Australia needs to achieve to prevent, or at worst mitigate, the consequences of climate change.

Where ICT Can Have the Greatest Effect

AIIA believes there are seven key areas where the intelligent application of ICT can make significant enabling contributions to reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and improving the country’s social and economic fabric. While we acknowledge there are other areas, the potential enabling effects relating to these seven areas will provide the highest and quickest return on investment:

•                  Green ICT. The ICT industry ‘s products need to be sustainably designed and, in many cases, managed to impact less on the environment.

•                  Energy Production and Distribution. Smart grids and smart metering will become increasingly important as energy costs increase over time.

•                  Transport and Logistics. Supply Chain Management (SCM) has long been a target for ICT-enabled efficiencies, particularly in facilitating open communication channels between each of the different transportation networks using a standardised platform.

•                  Building Management Systems. Inefficient heating and cooling systems of commercial, industrial and domestic buildings is one of the key areas of potential improvement in this area.

•                  Industrial Processes. Additional efficiency gains are now available through advanced process control initiatives, utilising intelligent ICT analytics to provide real-time feedback for maximising overall equipment effectiveness.

•                  Health. ICT-enabled improvements in health care, often called “e-health”, are an obvious area of improvement, through the use of such technologies as remote diagnostics and electronic patient records. Reducing travel, emergency department visits, and hospital admissions, maximising the usage of ICT will contribute to a more environmentally friendly and sustainable health industry.

•                  Education. Offering the ability to deliver, assess, and monitor educational training in a more efficient and effective manner, ICT provides the education industry with the ability to provide a more sustainable model for meeting the growing challenges of the industry.

About AIIA:

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is the nation’s peak industry body for the technology sector. AIIA sets the strategic direction of the industry, influences public policy and provides members with productivity tools, advisory services and market intelligence to accelerate their business growth.

AIIA member companies employ 100,000 Australians, generate combined annual revenues of more than $40 billion and export more than $2 billion in goods and services each year.

Source: www.aiia.com and www.connectionresearch.com.au

Leave a Reply