ICT for Sustainability or Sustainability in ICT? A Review of the Role of ICT in Enhancing Sustainability versus the Need to Enhance Sustainability in ICT

  • Dorcas Wambui Kariuki Murang’a University of Technology
Keywords: ICT, Sustainability, Carbon Emissions, Energy Consumption, Green House Gases
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Is ICT a solution to sustainability problems or is it just a greater environmental problem? Throughout their lifecycle, ICT products and services are associated with significant levels of energy consumption and carbon emissions. On the contrary, despite being one of the main contributors to global carbon emissions, the ICT sector has a crucial role to play in boosting productivity and sustainability in many sectors—education, transport, agriculture, business, buildings, health, power, and manufacturing. To improve their efficiency and mitigate carbon emissions from ICT products, producers and end-users of such ICT products should therefore, employ measures that enhance their sustainability. Such measures identified in this article include the use of sustainable manufacturing processes, sustainable procurement/purchasing of ICT products, proper ICT product use, reuse, recycle, and proper disposal of ICT devices that are out of use. In data centres, such measures include virtualisation, recovery and reuse of waste heat, designing data centres to allow free cooling, control of restricted air conditioning, replacement of old servers and processors with new energy-efficient ones, and locating data centres near renewable energy sources. This is because apart from enhancing sustainability in the ICT sector itself, ICT has the potential to enhance sustainability in other sectors through improvement in efficiency and reduction in carbon emissions. This article discusses how ICT can enhance sustainability in the transport, power, manufacturing, and building sectors, which are the major energy consumers and carbon-emitting sectors.


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31 May, 2021
How to Cite
Kariuki, D. (2021). ICT for Sustainability or Sustainability in ICT? A Review of the Role of ICT in Enhancing Sustainability versus the Need to Enhance Sustainability in ICT. East African Journal of Information Technology, 3(1), 7-21. https://doi.org/10.37284/eajit.3.1.333