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DigiPlex study finds consumers want eco-labelling on digital services

19 Nov 2019
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Data centres are thought to be responsible for 3% of global energy consumption and 2% of global CO2 emissions – a figure that could rise to 5.5% of CO2 emissions within the next 10 years if left unchecked.

A new survey conducted by Kantar/Sifo for DigiPlex found that 66% of people in the Nordic region (Sweden, Norway and Denmark) want digital services to be eco-labelled.

This would mean that data centre operators would be held accountable for their energy use and climate impact.

The survey found that 69% of the 3045 respondents, who are aged between 18-79, believe that it is important for digital services to have as little climate impact as possible; compared to just 6% who say it is ‘totally unimportant’.

While not all data centres of the same because they have different carbon footprints, eco-labelling would help customers choose services that used more sustainable data centres, and force service providers to consider carefully the environmental impact of the location and operation of their data centres.

“If you stream a film through a power-hungry data centre that gets its energy from brown coal it will indeed contribute to climate change. Today’s consumers increasingly want to make an active green choice when it comes to using various internet services. Currently they do not have the information to make informed decisions,” explains DigiPlex CEO Gisle M. Eckhoff.

“A large majority of Scandinavians want to be able to make sustainable decisions and reduce their climate impact – and this extends to their internet use.”

Only 26% of Scandinavians are willing to reduce their use of internet and digital services – even if it could result in lower climate change contributions. 30% of respondents indicated that they ‘did not know’ if they would use internet and digital services less.

“Internet usage is a natural part of our everyday life that few can or want to give up. But, with eco-labelling consumers can put pressure on suppliers to ensure digital services are climate smart, energy efficient, use reusable energy and have minimal CO2 emissions,” says Eckhoff.

“It is also no surprise that 70% want suppliers of digital services to report their energy usage and climate impact in, for example, their Annual Report.”

The survey was completed in September 2019. It surveyed a total of 3045 Swedes, Norwegians and Danes ranging 18-79 years of age, who answered questions about digital services, their climate impact and other related questions.