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France’s regulator to gather data centre and device info for ‘green barometer’

Patrick Chaize.jpg

The French telecoms regulator wants to add information about data centres and consumer devices to its sustainability audit for the digital sector.

For data centres the regulator will gather details of greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption but also the volume and sources of water used.

The regulator will also gather information on the number of consumer devices in circulation and their lifespan, to measure their greenhouse gas emissions and the amounts of rare earths and precious metals used in their production.

Last year the French government entrusted the regulator, Arcep, with the task of creating a “green barometer”, covering the entire digital ecosystem. This was enacted by the so-called Chaize Act, named after Senator Patrick Chaize (pictured CC BY-SA), a politician for the centre-right party Les Républicains.

“The makers of consumer devices … account for 79% of digital’s carbon footprint and data centre operators 16%,” said Arcep, the Autorité de Régulation des Communications Electroniques – Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications.

Arcep has been collecting data from the country’s main operators since 2020 on their environmental footprint. Its first report came out in April 2022.

Now it has taken a decision – still officially in draft, for consultation – “to expand this data-collection process to include new stakeholders (makers of consumer devices and data centre operators) and indicators, to steadily enhance future editions of the annual survey, and to more accurately measure the digital environmental footprint in France”, said the regulator.

Last year the French government entrusted Arcep with the task of creating a “green barometer”, covering the entire digital ecosystem. This was enacted by the so-called Chaize Act, named after Senator Patrick Chaize, a politician for the centre-right party Les Républicains.

This, said the regulator, “strengthens Arcep’s powers by giving it the ability to collect environmental data not only from electronic communications operators, but also from online communication service providers, data centre operators, consumer device manufacturers, network equipment suppliers and operating system providers”.

Arcep said it wants responses by 18:00 Paris time on 30 September. They will be used to inform the final data-collection decision to be adopted before the end of 2022, the regulator added.

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