The Sustainability Working Group (SUS WG) aims to develop stronger awareness and new expertise regarding the different aspects of sustainability in the digital sector, including electronic communications networks and services. The activities and topics addressed are interlinked with the work of the other WGs of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). The SUS WG also works towards a sustainable strategy and keeps mobilising BEREC’s expertise to actively contribute to improving transparency, measurement and mitigation of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) environmental footprint. The SUS WG pursues its environmental transparency analysis, the empowerment of end users through information on digital products and services, and the role of the circular economy in the digital sector, such as the life cycle of devices and equipment.

Working Group Co-chairs

The image shows Sandrine Elmi Hersi, Co-chair of the BEREC Sustainability Working Group
The image shows Kateřina Děkanovská, Co-chair of the BEREC Sustainability Working Group

Sandrine Elmi Hersi

Arcep, France

Kateřina Děkanovská

CTU, Czech Republic

(Note: This video was recorded in 2022).

Work in 2024

In 2024, the SUS WG will continue working on related topics based on the BEREC Work Programme 2024.

Potential ad-hoc work on ICTs sustainability in the frame of the European Green Deal implementation

BEREC seeks to proactively contribute with its expertise on digital markets to efforts to accelerate the twin green and digital transition, in line with the agenda of the European Commission (EC), the Council, the European Parliament and other competent authorities on this matter.

In 2024, BEREC will be ready to provide its analysis as input for potential further projects and proposals from other European Union (EU) bodies related to the twin digital and green transition. Potential ad-hoc inputs will be defined and produced in cooperation with other relevant/competent bodies when applicable and in compliance with the current regulatory framework.

BEREC contribution to empowering end-users through environmental transparency on digital products and services

BEREC considers end users awareness of environmental issues critical for their empowerment and for ICT sustainability. Environmental information on digital products and services could enlighten users’ choices in terms of their digital consumption.

In 2023, BEREC engaged in a fact-finding process to raise National Regulatory Authorities’ (NRA) knowledge of existing work and analysis of this issue in the form of a workshop on end users’ empowerment by providing them with environmental information, in cooperation with relevant stakeholders. Main results of the workshop will be presented in a report as well as overview of existing EU regulation and initiatives lead by NRAs and other relevant stakeholders regarding the empowerment of end-users in terms of sustainability and recommendations on most effective ways of reaching out to end-users in this regard and to prevent the risk of greenwashing.

BEREC Workshop on telecom regulators’ role in the development and implementation of sustainability indicators in the ICT sector

BEREC wishes to continue contributing to the work on the implementation and collection of relevant and harmonised environmental indicators in the telecom sector. It also aims to support the EC with its expertise in implementing the goal of increased environmental transparency for digital infrastructures, especially Electronic Communications Networks (ECN)/Electronic Communications Services (ECS) transparency measures set out in its digital strategy “Shaping Europe’s Digital Future”. A relevant work where BEREC seeks to contribute with this work stream is the EC elaborating a Code of Conduct on sustainability for telecommunications networks and services that should include a list of relevant environmental indicators in this frame.

Hence, in 2024, BEREC will hold a workshop with its member NRAs, the EC, relevant standardisation organisations and other relevant expert stakeholders, to allow NRAs that collect environmental data to share their experience, to contribute to existing initiatives by other bodies especially from the EC and to identify levers for telecom regulators to be able to further contribute to the implementation of standardised and reliable sustainability indicators in the sector. The results of the workshop and the next steps for BEREC will be published in a summary report.

BEREC Report on Infrastructure-sharing as a lever for ECN/ECS environmental sustainability

The objective of this workstream is to review the practices in this area in the EU Member States and the existing impact studies to identify possible development prospects. BEREC will analyse the implementation of the relevant EU provisions, especially Articles 44 and (if relevant) 61 of the European Electronic Communications Code, in the EU Member States, regarding the co-location and sharing of infrastructures based on, or that encompass environmental considerations. The main goal is to gather the BEREC member NRAs’ feedback on how to assess identified benefits of the environmental impact from network-sharing and/or take decisions that promote the protection of the environment.

Why is this important?

In the past years, sustainability and climate challenges have gained momentum. Especially since the European Green Deal, the digital sector and its impact on the environment have attracted more attention, placing sustainability at its heart. Among others, several questions emerged – How to deploy greener networks? How to apply an approach to digitalisation? How to create positive incentives for services or device providers?