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As we celebrate the world’s Earth day every April 22, we are once again reminded of the importance of taking action to mitigate the negative impact of climate change.

With 2022’s theme to be ‘invest in our planet,’ the steps being done within the ICT industry contribute to the path of a green and prosperous future. Innovating broadly for the benefit of businesses, governments, and citizens around the planet is one of the inevitable targets for operators, vendors, hyperscalers, OTTs, system integrators, etc.

According to ITU, the ICT industry will have to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45% between 2020 and 2030 to comply with the Paris agreement. Technology innovation and sustainability go hand-in-hand and play a critical role in achieving the UN’s SDGs.

Yet, innovation with sustainability in mind is not an easy journey to fulfill. This is the reason why industry stakeholders are now moving towards the goals of energy efficiency and net-zero emissions. Sustainable governance and initiatives of companies when it comes to green data centers, renewable energy source usage, circle economy, eSIM production, and carbon emission reduction, among others are gradually materializing to benefit not only customers but the world we are living in.

By utilizing the internet, cloud, IoT, and other ICT technologies, individuals can also do actions that could drive a healthy and harmonious ecosystem including:

  • - Increase automation and digitalization, especially when handling transactions, billing, processes, etc.
  • - Opt to use green power or renewables in smart home devices or vehicles
  • - Switch to eSIM from physical SIMs and swap/resell devices than throwing them in the trash
  • - Utilize teleworking platforms efficiently, not excessively
  • - Back up files via cloud to avoid any external storage, print outs, etc.

Regional perspective

In the Middle East specifically, the pace of innovation is high and governments, together with the private sector like the telecom industry, are implementing policies and measures to take better care of the environment.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are known to be ahead of the curve in adopting new technologies such as 5G, IoT, and AI. Hence, creating an energy-efficient world through smart devices, connected industries, and new applications is underpinned by the local governments’ sustainability agendas within the UAE’s Vision 2021, KSA’s Vision 2030, and Qatar’s National Vision 2030.

The expansion of 5G applications for industry, the greening of ICT infrastructure, and the fostering of digital talent across the Middle East are also important elements of the digital economy.

The push for digitalization in the region has the potential to reduce emissions and waste. In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates digital technologies could cut global emissions by 15%. Thus, digitalization efforts will provide the Middle East with greater bandwidth and capacity to combat the socio-economic challenges caused by climate change.

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