Impact Category: Emissions (CO2-eq)

Priority: Digital Carbon Footprint

Improve transparency and accountability of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption in every stage of the digital value chain to enable better data for environmental impact assessments.

Objective: Assessing a Digital Carbon Footprint is adopted as industry standard across the entire digital value chain for consistent monitoring and reporting.

Estimated timeframe: January 2021 to December 2021

United Nations - Sustainable Development Goals

This priority contributes to global sustainability goals:

Affordable and Clean Energy (7)

Affordable and Clean Energy (7)

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Climate Action (13)

Climate Action (13)

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Identified challenges

These are the challenges and barriers identified to reach the target of this roadmap priority. They are grouped by supply chain layer based on our digital economy taxonomy.


Carbon Footprint of digital product or service not visible

Work in progressGlobalTechnologyCritical

Digital products & services can not be differentiated by carbon emissions

Work in progressGlobalBusiness ModelHigh
Software Application

Attribution of carbon emissions to an application is not standardized

Raising awarenessGlobalStandardizationHigh
Resource Provisioning

Virtualization & orchestration software do not provide interfaces to assess embodied & operational carbon emissions

Raising awarenessGlobalTechnologyCritical

Digital resources do not measure or report carbon emissions

Work in progressGlobalTechnologyCritical

Embodied carbon reports are inconsistent across manufacturers

Raising awarenessGlobalDataHigh

A standardized approach to measuring carbon intensity of network traffic

Not startedGlobalStandardizationHigh
Data Center Facility

Equipment manufacturers do not yet provide information on embodied carbon

Not startedGlobalDataHigh

Lack of standardized interface to retrieve embodied carbon, electricity use and operational carbon emissions from a facility

Raising awarenessGlobalStandardizationMedium

Facilities do not provide consistent data on cooling & infrastructure overhead for carbon emission assessment

Not startedGlobalDataMedium

A standard for measuring and reporting embodied carbon for equipment

Not startedGlobalStandardizationMedium

Reliable, trustworthy & open data on the carbon intensity of electricity is missing

Lacking supportGlobalDataHigh

Green power certificates are distorting assessment of total carbon emissions created by the digital economy

Raising awarenessGlobalPolicyMedium
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