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Measuring the Relationship between ICT and the Environment

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While the links between ICT and environmental outcomes are becoming clearer, there is no separate
statistical field that links the two. Nevertheless, some data are available from official statistical sources,
from analytical work and from product life cycle studies.
This paper suggests a conceptual framework for the new statistical field “ICT and the environment”
based on an existing OECD framework for information society statistics. Sources of official data to
populate the framework are investigated and some relevant work has been identified.
Given the serious environmental problems facing the world, and the potential for ICT to both lessen
and worsen those problems, it is suggested that this field should be of more interest to official statisticians.
A number of actions are recommended and they include: conducting new or expanded household and
business surveys, expanding statistical classifications to better reflect ICT and the environment, ensuring
that sample sizes are sufficient to enable better identification of ICT and environment data, and producing
time series data on the topic.
Further OECD work on this topic could include compilation of existing data that link ICT and the
environment, development of model questions, and development of a core set of indicators. Some possible
core indicators are described in Annex 1.

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