Green ICTs: potential and priorities for sustainable development: analytical review

Оksana M. Garkushenko, Мariia Yu. Zanizdra

Abstract


Digitalization and greening are the dominant global trends in the transformation of the world economy, which would largely define national competitiveness in the future. The use of energy-saving and decarbonizing effects from the introduction of ICTs is particularly important in the context of their implementation in industry, which has sufficient potential to ensure global qualitative changes. This raises the question of defining the compatibility and mutual influence of digitalization and sustainable development processes.

Therefore, the paper proposes to expand the typology of ICTs impacts on the environment, as well as authors’ vision of "green" ICTs, which takes into account their systemic effect from the perspective of society as a whole, individual enterprises and end users, and, at the same time, incorporates concepts of "greening of ICT" and "greening by ICT". Based on the generalization of foreign experience in greening the ICT industry and ensuring sustainable development through the use of ICTs in industry, we have identified potentially promising areas of economic activity for implementing decarbonization measures through ICTs (construction, transport, energy and production), as well as the most effective groups of "green" smart technologies (smart energy networks, smart buildings, smart logistics, dematerialization, etc.).

It is established that the recognized leaders in the field of ICT implementation in Ukraine are such economic activities as "manufacturing industry" and "wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles", which account for half of the demand for ICT products and services. However, the most common areas of ICTs’ use are traditional and low-cost: the use of e-mail, banking operations, monitoring of the market of goods and services, exchange of information with public authorities. More advanced digital technologies – e-Commerce, 3D printing, big data analysis, etc., which require additional investments in the development of intellectual capital, are less common. Analysis of anthropogenic burden on the environment has allowed us to establish some positive trends – increased use of "green" energy from renewable sources, reduction of energy intensity, compliance with the permissible level of greenhouse gas emissions (compared to the established quotas and international obligations of Ukraine). Legislative initiatives, directed on creation of an environment friendly institutional framework in the field of waste management of electrical and electronic equipment, have been developed. However, the scale of positive qualitative changes remains insufficient to change the status of Ukrainian energy sector from carbon-intensive to "environment friendly" (sustainable). The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is due to the socio-economic crisis and has no confirmed links with the spread of "green" ICTs, progress in the implementation of the "National waste management strategy in Ukraine until 2030" is insufficient, and the current state of the existing information base on e-waste management remains unsatisfactory. Solving these problems requires a clearer legal framework and organizational support in the field of ICTs and sustainable development, combined with the acceleration of the development of the national smart industry.


Keywords


digitalization, green ICT, smart technologies, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, e-waste, sustainable development

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15407/econindustry2020.03.047

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