Leuven data centre, Source: City of Leuven

Leuven commits to fair and sustainable use of information and communication technologies

Leuven commits to fair and sustainable use of information and communication technologies

It is the first Flemish city to do this

In the upcoming years Leuven will take actions to promote the sustainable and fair use of information and communication technologies (ICT) on its territory, they announced on Wednesday. To testify to this commitment, the Flemish municipality has signed a declaration with Fair ICT Flanders, becoming the first city in the Belgian region to do this.

What is fair and sustainable use of ICT and we do we need it?

The production of IT goods like smartphones and laptops has a major impact on people and the environment. Purchasing and processing such items in a more sustainable way can improve the working and living conditions of workers and local communities, the announcement reads.

As major consumers of hardware, cities can exert a significant influence on making production chains more sustainable in a structural manner. In Flanders (the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium) ICT Flanders is working with companies, local authorities and higher education institutions to encourage them to take concrete steps in this regard.

Leuven makes bold steps

Leuven is the first city in Flanders to conclude a cooperation agreement with Fair ICT Flanders. As part of this collaboration, the local authority will receive guidance on how to make specifications for the purchase of ICT products more environmentally friendly and will develop a policy to extend the lifespan of purchased IT equipment.

This should ideally result in laptops being used for longer, the purchase of hardware that is produced in a fair way, the energy consumption in server room being monitored and optimized, among others.

As a city, we want to use valuable raw materials in a sustainable manner and we attach great importance to good working conditions worldwide. By signing this declaration of commitment, we aim for a sustainable ICT purchase and processing policy. In this way, we do our bit to tackle human rights violations in ICT supply chains and reduce the ecological impact of our digital operations" alderman Thomas Van Oppens was quoted saying.

According to the website of Fairtrade International, fair trade leads to better prices, decent working conditions, fairer share for farmers and workers in the developing countries. Purchasing a product with a fairtrade mark means that its producers and retailers have met internationally agreed standards in the sector.



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