The EU’s mission to reduce the environmental impact of ICT is not new. Back in 2009 the European Commission called on industry to implement a “progressive decarbonisation process” to reduce the energy intensity and carbon emissions involved in production, transport and sales of ICT equipment and components.


But the onus is not only on industry to think green. Turning attention to the cloud, the Commission called on governments in 2012 to “address the environmental challenges of increased cloud use by agreeing, with industry, harmonised metrics for the energy consumption, water consumption and carbon emissions of cloud services by 2014.”

With its Communication “Unleashing the potential of cloud computing in Europe” (, the Commission stressed the need for comparability between the energy reporting methods used by cloud service providers. This is needed to assess the overall impact of increased data flow and cloud computing on the environment.

International standards are beginning to appear, and around 30 major ICT-players have voluntarily tested those designed to measure environmental footprint. But while some organisations are using international standards, the pace of deployment is slow.

So far, efforts have focused on standards for measuring the ICT-sector’s footprint. DG CONNECT has worked with DG Environment to ensure ICT-specificities are preserved in any future legislation.

The Commission is also investing in research to reduce the cloud’s carbon footprint. The hope is to reduce the electricity consumption of the large data centres behind the cloud, and to make both hardware and software more efficient. Breakthroughs in each area will, together, make Europe the home of green computing.


(Article from net-cloud future magazine (2013) - for complete magazine click here)