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The group will develop the industry’s first specification for measuring, accounting for and decarbonizing the emissions associated with consumer use of connected devices.
Tech giants Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, Samsung and Sky Global
have joined forces with climate consultancy the Carbon
Trust to tackle emissions stemming from our
addiction to internet-connected devices.
The group has formed a secretariat, led by the Carbon Trust, to develop the
industry’s first specification for measuring, accounting for and decarbonizing
the emissions associated with connected devices while being used by customers.
Globally, connected devices — which include any device that can connect to
another or a network via the internet — have an annual electricity consumption
similar to that of France. This includes
devices such as phones, speakers,
and smart home appliances — which combined used 500TWh of energy in
As the number of these devices increases globally, as well as demand for data,
reducing their energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is becoming a key
focus for the industry.
A device’s use phase, or the time it spends being used by the consumer,
accounts for up to 85
of its total carbon footprint throughout its lifecycle — so, effectively tackling it is a critical component of a credible climate action plan for any device manufacturer.
Many of these devices can remotely report energy use, providing an opportunity
to significantly improve accuracy of energy consumption estimates.
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“The connected device industry is innovative, advanced and ambitious. It has a
critical role to play in net-zero progress,” says Carbon Trust Managing Director
Hugh Jones. “This product-level approach will provide an open, credible and
united methodology on device data measurement to help drive down use-phase
emissions across the sector. We are excited to be at the forefront of this
cross-industry collaborative effort. If you are a device manufacturer or
retailer that would like to get involved in the development of the methodology,
please get in touch.”
This latest joint commitment demonstrates the industry’s desire to better
understand and account for these emissions in a standardized way. The group aims
to produce an accurate baseline for reporting energy efficiency improvements and
establish rules for matching electricity consumption with renewable energy
generation, as well as applying technology to optimize energy use of connected
devices by consumers. This means that a significant portion of the 500TWh could
be reduced and additional renewable electricity capacity created. Companies will
then be able to track the impact of these measures, leading to effective
decarbonization over time.
“Amazon has long been committed to the reduction of carbon emissions, and this
secretariat opens a pathway for our industry to better measure and further work
on decarbonizing the use phase of devices,” says Maiken Moeller-Hansen,
Director of Energy and Sustainability at Amazon Devices and Services. “We look
forward to working with both Carbon Trust and the founding members and encourage
more companies to join us in this effort.”
Development of the secretariat officially begins in September 2022. The
secretariat is open to new members for a limited period. It is expected to be
completed in 2023 when the specification will be made publicly available to
support an industry-wide drive towards net zero.
Published Sep 21, 2022 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST