Scotland's Digital Future: Scottish Public Sector Green ICT Strategy

How Scottish public sector organisations can reduce carbon emissions; plan for carbon reduction; and meet the Scottish Government's environmental targets.


One of the drivers for the strategy Scotland's Digital Future: Delivery of Public Services was to ensure that our ICT infrastructure is deployed in an energy-efficient manner and, by delivering services digitally, reduce carbon impact. This reflected a recommendation of the Review of ICT Infrastructure in the Public Sector in Scotland report by John McClelland which said it was important that we ensure the way in which we deploy and manage our ICT operations in the public sector minimises its effect on the environment, in terms of energy usage and emissions as data processing equipment, and supporting facilities can be significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

Scottish public sector Green ICT Vision :
A cost effective and energy efficient ICT estate that reduces the environmental impact and continually looks at more sustainable ways of working for the public sector.

Green ICT is a frequently used term that commonly refers to ways of managing climate change due to ICT. Green ICT aims at reducing emissions and other waste produced across the ICT lifecycle - from procurement, operation of ICT in an organisation and disposal.

The services delivered in Scotland's public sector are extensive and underpinned by ICT. Consequently the ICT estate is considerable, consisting of hundreds of data centres, thousands of applications and a great many end user devices. Such a large ICT estate offers great potential to contribute to a greener environment by reducing waste and improving efficiency. The environmental impact of ICT is more than just the energy it uses in operation, it spans from procurement, through operation to eventual reuse, recycling and disposal. It is essential that the Scottish public sector ICT infrastructure is operated in a green and cost effective manner.

The strategy recognises the dual role of ICT in respect of environmental issues. On the one hand, ICT generates significant greenhouse gas emissions. On the other, ICT is an enabler to change the way government operates and provides services and realise efficiency and environmental improvements on a much wider and a larger scale. For example, by making use of technologies such as teleconferencing, an organisation can reduce travel costs, improve productivity and produce lower carbon emissions.

The strategy provides principles and guidelines on how public sector organisations in Scotland will contribute to meeting the Scottish Government's environmental targets. Progress on how ICT is contributing to those targets will be monitored through the measurement and benefits framework against which all digital delivery is made and for this strategy specifically

Benefit 11 - We are helping to reduce Scotland's carbon footprint.

This strategy aligns with other programmes (see Annex I) of work in the strategy Scotland's Digital Future: Delivery of Public Services; for example the data centre consolidation workstream which focuses on consolidation and re-use to achieve potentially significant cost-savings associated with energy consumption.

This strategy provides the principles and guidelines that Scottish public sector organisations will use to:

  • reduce carbon emissions;
  • plan for carbon reduction; and
  • align with meeting the Scottish Government's environmental targets on reducing carbon footprint.


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