Leading Asia-Pacific Telecommunications Companies Join Forces to Tackle Global Environmental Problems

Paris/Hong Kong/Nairobi, May 2002 - The Hong Kong conference discussed the many environmental aspects of the ICT industry. Recognizing that without responsible care, the ICT industry can cause significant environmental impacts, delegates agreed that a regional forum could help promote the understanding of responsible environmental management as well as promoting the environmental benefits that the ICT industry can deliver. Two particular areas were highlighted - improving recycling and reducing energy consumption of ICT equipment and infrastructure.

Mr. Claudio Senese of Telstra has been invited to chair the new forum. He said, "An awareness about environmental impacts of the ICT industry exists but the conference highlighted the need for further progress. At the same time the ICT industry is providing environmental benefits through dematerializing the economy, and the ongoing potential is enormous to help ensure a sustainable and livable environment."

During the conference three new companies joined GeSI in their commitment to environment protection: Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Ltd, Telstra Corporation and Vodafone. Mrs Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, UNEP Assistant Executive Director, and Dr Chris Tuppen of British Telecom and the chair of GeSI, said, "We welcome these three new members and look forward to more companies joining."

Experts at the conference asked UNEP and the ICT industry to bring to the attention of governments the need to integrate environmental considerations with ICT industry development and regulatory policies. The experts also asked the ITU to include a presentation of telecommunications and the environment at the ITU Telecom Asia 2002 to be held in Hong Kong in December 2002

GeSI is an initiative of ICT service providers and suppliers, supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The 1st Asia-Pacific Conference on Environmental Issues in Telecommunications was co-hosted by OFTA, ITANK and supported by HKCS.

For more information contact Ms Ama Dadson, GeSI Secretariat, c/o UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, 39-43, quai André Citroën, 75739 Paris Cedex 15 France, Tel: +33.1.44.37.16.23, Fax: +33.1.44.37.14.74, E-mail: gesi@unep.fr, http://www.gesi.org/

UNEP Information Note: Paris 2002/15

Issued by Global e-Sustainability Initiative, United Nations Environment Programme, Internet and Telecom Association of Hong Kong and Office of the Telecomunications Authority

Hong Kong, 22 May 2002 - The first Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Environmental Issues in Telecommunications is being held today (22 May 2002) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and the supplementary forum will be held tomorrow (23 May 2002) at the Integer Pavilion, Hong Kong.

The conference is organised by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), which is an industry-led initiative in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), co-hosted by the Internet & Telecom Association of Hong Kong (ITAHK) and the Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) and supported by the Hong Kong Computer Society. The conference is also the first outreach programme organised by GeSI in the region.

"Current trends in production and consumption patterns based on ever increasing use of energy and other natural resources have huge environmental impacts: climate change, air pollution, water scarcity, pollution and land degradation," said Ms Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, UNEP Assistant Executive Director. "We need to move to dematerialisation of our economy if we want to achieve a development that will last, and the ICT industry has a lot to contribute to this change of course," she added. This is why a number of leading ICT companies together with UNEP and the ITU have developed GeSI.

"GeSI is a wonderful opportunity to work in partnership to address some of these problems", said Dr Chris Tuppen, Chairman of the GeSI. "We are delighted that Asia Satellite Telecoms Co Ltd is now joining other world leading telecommunication operators and manufacturers in protecting the environment. We expect many more companies from the Asia-Pacific region to join GeSI as a result of the conference" he added.

As co-hosts of the conference, ITAHK and OFTA are committed to promoting pro-environmental management in the telecommunications sector. Through joint efforts with the GeSI, the two organisations have lined up leading experts from around the world to share with industry members in the Asia-Pacific region their insights and experience in relation to pro-environmental work in the telecommunications industry.

Mr Tony Hau, Chairman of the ITAHK commented that the size and scope of the IT and telecom industries bring challenges to the environment, but "the quest for sustainable development in our industry can yield many benefits to the participants and the public, as you will see from the conference programme." He added, "In some countries, especially North America and Europe, many major companies have made a formal commitment to environmentalism. For example, at least 13 major global telecom companies are members of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) that is responsible for organising this conference¡K.." and therefore, he hopes that "this pioneering conference will plant the seeds of new ideas in the minds of all the participants."

"As the industry regulator, OFTA is not only committed to implementing environmental protection initiatives in our own daily activities and programmes, but also to supporting and promoting related environmental measures within the industry to minimise negative impacts on the environment¡K..," remarked Mr Anthony S K Wong, Director-General of OFTA. "Co-hosting this conference today again marks our enhanced efforts towards facilitating green development within the local industry.¡KWe trust this conference will not only be a platform for exchange, but also from where a good foundation will be built for further joint pro-environmental work by ICT operators in different parts of the world."


 

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