The Carbon Trust and leading tech companies team up to tackle climate impact of connected devices

Global climate consultancy, the Carbon Trust, and leading technology companies – Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, Samsung and Sky – are joining forces to tackle internet-connected device emissions.

The group has formed a secretariat, led by the Carbon Trust, to develop the industry’s first specification for measuring, accounting for and decarbonising 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 France1. This includes devices like phones, speakers, laptops and other home appliances, which combined used 500TWh of energy in 20202. 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 lifecycle3. This includes battery-powered smart devices, and those plugged into the wall within a customer’s home. Many of these devices can remotely report energy use, providing an opportunity to significantly improve accuracy of energy consumption estimates.

This latest joint commitment demonstrates the industry’s desire to better understand and account for these emissions in a standardised 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 optimise 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 decarbonisation over time.

Hugh Jones, Managing Director at the Carbon Trust said, “The connected device industry is innovative, advanced, and ambitious. It has a critical role to play in Net Zero progress. 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.” 

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.

Related posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.