The Luxembourg Bankers’ Association (ABBL) and Deloitte in June 2023 conducted a survey on green information and communications technology (ICT) practices in the Luxembourg banking sector. The survey, which polled 19 credit institutions, aimed to evaluate Luxembourg banks’ green ICT maturity, capture the ICT carbon footprint of the grand duchy’s banking sector and identify priorities for the banking sector in its shift towards greener ICT.
“Assessing the banking sector's green ICT maturity and CO2 footprint is an essential step for a more sustainable future,” said Ananda Kautz, head of innovation, payments & sustainability at the ABBL, in the report. “We shall continue to innovate and embrace eco-friendly technologies to reduce our sector's carbon footprint.”
In a report published in October 2023, the ABBL and Deloitte noted that they observed a “relatively slow development” regarding the adoption of green ICT practices. Banks are generally aware of green information and communications technology, but do not consider it as an immediate priority and need more support in launching green ICT initiatives and integrating them in daily operations.
“Cognisant of the impact that the financial sector wields on our environment, the green transformation of ICT isn’t a choice; it is an imperative,” said Sébastien Genco, technology consulting partner at Deloitte Luxembourg. “Advocating for innovation and responsible practices will not only benefit our clients but also the planet.”
Here are a few takeaways from the survey, which covered eight areas within ICT: procurement, end-user devices and printers, software as a service, data centres, governance, software and e-services, cloud computing and networks.
Higher maturity concerning end-user devices, printers
The survey found higher levels of maturity amongst survey respondents when it came to end-user devices (such as mobile phones or laptops) and printers, as well as data centres. These are considered to be high priority areas--banks, for example, focus on implementing recycling processes for devices or on using green principles (such as “green power sources,” efficient lighting or low-impact coolers) in data centres. 72% of respondents, for example, say they use green principles in their data centres.
However, IT governance, SaaS and software and e-services are less mature areas, said the report, with this lower maturity “driven by a lack of green ICT roles and green ICT budget within Luxembourg’s banking sector.”
90% of banks do not have any green ICT roles as part of their organisational structure. Only 5% have one green ICT role and 5% have more than one role.
In addition, only 5% of surveyed credit institutions said they had an allocated green ICT budget for 2023. For the 95% who didn’t have an allocated green ICT budget, it’s a “significant obstacle for launching green ICT initiatives, establishing green ICT roles and expanding the adoption of green ICT.”
69% do not consider environment during ICT software procurement
When it comes to procurement, 26% of survey respondents said they do not take environmental criteria into consideration when procuring ICT equipment. More than two-thirds (69%) don’t take environmental criteria into consideration when procuring ICT software, and around one-third (32%) said they don’t consider environmental criteria when selecting ICT suppliers.
Equipment recycling is common
Most banks in Luxembourg recycle their printers and ICT hardware, noted the report. That being said, about half of survey respondents (47%) do not recycle mobile phones, though the report added that “the low percentage of mobile phone recycling can be justified by some banks selling the mobile phones to their employees after a certain number of years.”
94% of banks decommission unused hardware from their data centres, found the survey. 55% of respondents do so regularly and 39% do so occasionally.
94% of surveyed banks also decommission unused network devices.
Cloud computing and carbon emissions
Around three-fourths (78%) of surveyed banks do not request a carbon footprint report from their cloud provider, which can be a potential obstacle for accurately estimating carbon emissions and making adjustments.
Main source of carbon emissions?
Individual screens and shared printers make up the main sources of carbon emissions among end-user devices. The survey excluded CO2 emissions for cloud services and data centres, due to a lack of relevant data.
But the average CO2 emissions for end-user devices per employee was actually higher for smaller banks than for larger banks. This is likely due to the higher number of devices per employee at smaller banks, as well as the higher ratio of desktops/shared printers to employees at smaller banks,
The ABBL-Deloitte report concludes with recommendations to banks as to how they can improve their green ICT practices. These include boosting awareness of best practices, benchmark analyses, recruiting dedicated human resources to implement green ICT and allocating funding to relevant initiatives, as well as defining and applying environmental criteria when purchasing hardware.
Find the full survey results here.