Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is crucial to tomorrow's sustainable economy. The European Commission is committed to building an environmentally sustainable, low-carbon economy with smart technologies.

ICT plays a leading role in enabling energy efficiency and sustainability. ICT can enhance water distribution networks to operate more efficiently and with higher resilience, while the significant reduction of waste and improved waste management enabled by ICT can lead to a more resource-efficient and eco-friendly economy.

The ICT sector also needs to address its own energy consumption (and waste generated), which are rising as the sector expands;

The European Union promotes the effective use of ICTs to address societal challenges in transport, energy, climate, and resource efficiency. This includes initiatives in areas such as sustainable cities, energy efficient buildings, smart energy grids, and water and climate change management. The European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (SCC) was launched in July 2012 to achieve a meaningful large-scale deployment of smart city solutions in Europe, focusing on the intersections of ICT, energy and transport.

On ICTs' own environmental footprint, our policy framework, set out in 2009 includes:

  • coordination initiatives with industry and standards-development organisations to achieve a global consensus on how to measure energy consumption and emissions related to the ICT sector
  • the ICT footprint initiative aimed at road testing the agreed measurement methodologies with the industry.

The Commission funds a range of research and development projects in these fields.