Draft BEREC Report on Sustainability: Assessing BEREC’s contribution to limiting the impact of the digital sector on the environment

Document number: BoR (22) 35

Document date: 10-03-2022

Date of registration: 15-03-2022

Document type:
Author: BEREC

This first BEREC’s report on environmental sustainability aims at defining its potential contribution to liming the digital sector’s impact on the environment. BEREC acknowledges the positive indirect impact of digitalisation on other sectors’ decarbonisation and digital solutions as critical enablers of climate neutrality although this first report focuses on the environmental footprint of the Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector (also called ‘direct effect’, ‘adverse effect’ or ‘negative impact’ on the environment ). This perimeter allowed BEREC to build a clear vision of the relative contribution of electronic communications within the environmental footprint of ICTs and to take into account possible relations between the environmental impacts of networks, data centres, devices, digital services and uses. Furthermore, BEREC considered the different types of environmental effects from ICTs, not only in terms of greenhouse gas emissions but also other relevant impacts especially the sourcing of fossil energy resources and the depletion of minerals and metals (including rare earth elements).