ICT Codes of Conduct

PDF version

Energy Consumption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is rapidly increasing including the stand-by power consumed by end-use devices when they are switched off or not performing their main function. Stand-by power consumption is an increasing fraction of the European Union’s electricity use and the fast penetration of new and digital technology is likely to increase this share. It is estimated that stand-by power already accounts for about 10% of the electricity use in homes and offices of the EU Member States. Recently, the European Climate Change Programme indicated the urgent need to take actions to reduce stand-by losses (see press release).

Technology exists to avoid or reduce stand-by power consumption and improve energy efficiency in all operational modes. As for other energy efficiency initiatives for end-use equipment, actions taken at EU level avoid creating trade barriers as the levels and requirements for equipment will be the same throughout the EU market. Moreover, the more equipment is covered, the larger are the energy and environmental benefits.

As a first step the European Commission concluded in 1997 a negotiated agreement with individual consumer electronic manufacturers and the EU trade association EACEM to reduce the stand-by losses of TVs and VCRs. Later on in year 2000 a second agreement for reducing the stand-by losses of audio equipment was concluded. In the year 2003 a new agreement for TVs and DVDs was concluded [for more information contact DIGITALEUROPE ].

In 1999 a Commission Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on Policy Instruments to Reduce Stand-by Losses of Consumer Electronic Equipment set the political frame for further actions in this field. As a result of the Council Conclusions on the Communication two Code of Conducts, for External Power Supplies and for Digital TV Services, were introduced. (PDF)

Another important piece of the Commission and EU strategy is the Energy Star Agreement for office equipment between the EU and the USA. (EU ENERGY STAR Programme)

In year 2000 the Commission DG TREN launched two innovative voluntary policy instrument the Code of Conduct: one for External Power Supplies, and one for Digital TV Services. Later on additional Codes of Conduct were introduced for UPS, Broadband Equipment, and Data Centres.

The Code of Conduct is a flexible mechanism to initiate and develop policy to improve energy efficiency; they create also  a forum for industry, experts and Member States where an open and continuous dialogue on market , product  and system performance takes place. Through the Code of Conduct ambitious voluntary standards and commitments are set.