Government departments will be expected to provide annual statements on their green ICT efforts and run initiatives to deal with risks and issues under the Government’s new Sustainable Technology Strategy.
It also includes a series of actions to be taken over the next two years by the Green ICT Delivery Unit (GDU), Whitehall’s lead body on the issue.
The strategy, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and set to run until 2020, throws the emphasis onto the delivery of best practice in sustainability, following the focus of earlier strategies on embedding the building blocks.
It includes a number of requirements for central government departments and agencies, including that they provide an annual strategy statement to be included in their annual reporting and published on GOV.UK.
They will also have to launch rolling programmes of initiatives on ICT sustainability, risks and issues, implemented through sub-working groups, and actively engage with other bodies and identify trends to assess threats and opportunities.
Other requirements include quantifying and reporting on their e-waste and aiming to reduce this to zero to landfill by 2020, and reporting on the energy and carbon footprints of their digital and technology services.
They are also expected to adopt a policy of “e-conferencing facility first”, with the aim of reducing journeys for meetings by 40%, investigate tools that could assess the sustainability risks of their key services, and provide a repository of industry best practice and codes of conduct on the lifecycle of assets. They should also create and regularly refresh a set of minimum ICT sustainability provisions.
As part of the strategy the GDU will continue to play an active role in all new government frameworks and procurements of digital services and assets, and launch its own rolling programme of initiatives, working with industry and other innovations.
In addition, it will provide a regularly refreshed set of minimum ICT sustainability provisions for government technology services frameworks and contracts, and where appropriate in the Technology Code of Practice. This will be accompanied by aiming to provide guidance on embedding sustainability within the main project management methodologies, and engage with professional bodies on how sustainability should fit within skills frameworks.
In a Defra Digital blogpost, the department’s chief digital and information officer John Seglias (pictured) says: “With the range and depth of the government’s commitment to sustainability outcomes, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, this strategy underlines how cross-government ICT practices can play a critical role in supporting these targets through improved sustainable procurement and the need to report transparently on key sustainability issues.
“Key to the strategy’s success will be close working with a wide range of stakeholders from across industry, academia, UK government and professional bodies.”
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0