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ICT Task Force study: Final Report

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Alfieri, Felice, and Christoforos Spiliotopoulos. 2023. “ICT Task Force Study: Final Report.” JRC133092. Luxembourg: Joint Research Centre, European Commission.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) play an increasingly important role in society. ICT can be analysed from a dual perspective: as crucial in supporting sustainability strategies, and as responsible for environmental impacts related to energy and material use in their lifecycle.
In order to facilitate policy-making, direct and indirect environmental impacts need to be assessed not just from a device perspective, but the overall system composed by interactions between users, devices and services. Making a reliable estimation of the energy and material savings potential is particularly challenging due to the uncertainty about future market developments, increased connectivity and multifunctionality, and behavioural changes.
In 2016, the Commission announced, in the context of the Ecodesign Working Plan, a separate strand of work on ICT products in order to determine the best policy approach for improving their energy efficiency and wider circular economy aspects. This JRC Science-for-Policy report is the result of a study, undertaken for the European Commission's Directorate General for Energy, to support this work by providing a comprehensive and dynamic analysis of the ICT sector. Based on material and energy efficiency improvement potentials identified, and considering user behaviour and lifecycle costing aspects, this JRC report provides policy recommendations on the inclusion of ecodesign provisions, but also accounting for the suitability of complementary policy tools.

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