28 February 2024

On 24 January 2024, the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (“IMDA”) and the Government Technology Agency (“GovTech”) announced the first suite of digital sustainability initiatives to green the information and communications technology (“ICT”) sector (i.e. green ICT) and tap on digital to green the rest of the economy (i.e. ICT for green).

Details are set out below.

Greening ICT sector

IMDA has launched two green computing initiatives to promote sustainable practices and efficient use of computing resources in the ICT sector. With the increasing use of technologies like AI, there is a strong need to also reduce the carbon emissions from the computing and software that powers the digital economy:

  • In the first initiative, IMDA’s Green Computing Funding Initiative (“GCFI”) will allocate S$30 million for research to optimise software design and function for energy efficiency. IMDA will call for proposals this year to invite researchers and industry to co-develop low-carbon digital solutions.
  • In the second initiative, IMDA invites industry partners to participate in green software trials to better understand how to develop green software, reducing energy use and IT costs. The trials will also generate valuable data and insights for IMDA to create guidelines for the industry on developing green software.

IMDA will continue its efforts to green data centres, which account for the bulk of ICT sector emissions. In June 2023, IMDA launched the world’s first standard for tropical data centres. IMDA is now collaborating with industry partners to trial the standard in live facilities.

Empowering businesses to leverage ICT for green

Beyond greening the ICT sector, IMDA is driving ICT for green, empowering businesses on their sustainability journey. IMDA has identified various digital solutions for sustainability under the Advanced Digital Solutions (“ADS”) programme. These digital solutions in resource optimisation and carbon management allow companies to achieve productivity gains and cost savings, and gain access to new markets while reducing emissions. Under the ADS programme, grant support for up to 70% is provided for the adoption of the digital solutions.

Whole-of-Government digital sustainability

GovTech is taking proactive steps to ensure that the Government’s digital transformation is sustainable and environmentally responsible. Examples include facilitating the adoption of digital signatures and payments to reduce paper consumption, and implementing digital workplace solutions such as video conferencing to reduce travel-related emissions. GovTech has also piloted data analytics capabilities to support and improve environmental policymaking, operations planning, and service delivery. Nevertheless, GovTech recognises the need for broader inclusion of the ecosystem to scale the Government’s efforts and make a larger impact. GovTech will therefore be working more closely with the industry to jointly manage the Government’s digital carbon footprint through the joint development of best practices and solutions to reduce the environmental impact of digital technologies deployed by the Government.

Reference materials

The press release is available on the IMDA website www.imda.gov.sg.