UN tech agency joins CODES as a co-champion to drive green digital action

Robin Zuercher
Programme Officer, International Telecommunication Union

Digital technologies are key to effective climate monitoring, climate change adaptation and early warning systems, as well as in mitigation measures like boosting energy efficiency, building green networks, and developing circular economies.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has stepped up as a co-champion of the Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES).
The CODES objective of ensuring that digital change is systemically and proactively aligned with sustainable digital transformation complements the ITU goal of harnessing the power of digital technologies to accelerate the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and step up digital climate action. Having  contributed to the development of the CODES Action Plan, ITU looks forward to implementing the impact initiatives in collaboration with the other co-champions.
Founded in 1865, ITU allocates global radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits that play a significant role in monitoring oceans, marine life, and terrestrial ecosystems; develops international standards in support of sustainable digital transformation; and strives to improve access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) for underserved communities worldwide.
At the same time, ITU addresses challenges arising from the increased use and new development of technologies and the energy consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and e-waste generation associated with them. ITU standardization experts are developing a “sustainability passport” for ICT goods, promoting the establishment of green data centers, and advancing circular and sustainable public procurement practices.
The recent Greening digital companies 2023: Monitoring emissions and climate commitments report from ITU and the World Benchmarking Alliance documents emissions and energy use attributable to 200 of the world’s leading tech companies. The report outlines best practices for companies to improve their emission-reduction performance and accelerate the achievement of net-zero operations.
International standards like ITU L.1470 provide a framework for setting GHG emission-reduction trajectories for the ICT sector aligned with the goals of the UNFCCC Paris Agreement. Complementing this work, ITU has also developed Guidance for Scope 3 Emissions for Telecom Operators in collaboration with GSMA and GeSI.  International standards and guidance documents are key references for ICT industry players working to reduce their carbon footprint, making a crucial contribution to meaningful climate action.
Through its global membership comprised of 193 Member States as well as over 900 companies, universities, and international and regional organizations, ITU has been a key international venue for stakeholders to come together and address the world’s most pressing ICT issues for 158 years.
As a co-champion of CODES, the organization will contribute its technical and regulatory policy expertise, as well as its convening power as an open platform for all stakeholders to work towards the common goal of building a sustainable, connected, and better world for all.
ITU is gearing up for the UN climate conference, COP28, in Dubai between 30 November and 12 December. Through the Green Digital Action @ COP28 track, ITU together with CODES and more than 40 partners across the industry will work to enhance collaboration, fast-track industry-wide commitments to address climate challenges, and put digital solutions at the forefront of climate action.

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