Net-Carbon Impact Assessment Methodology

To support the Green and Digital Transformation of the European Union [1], the EGDC pilot project developed a science-based methodology to assess the net carbon impact of ICT solutions*. This methodology allows to identify ICT solutions that can deliver a net positive impact by reducing emissions outside of the ICT sector.

* The net carbon impact of an ICT solution is the comparison between the carbon impacts of a scenario with an ICT solution and a reference scenario without the ICT solution within the same boundary. The total positive and negative carbon impacts of each scenario are considered including all direct and indirect effects within the boundary of the assessment.

The Net Carbon Impact Assessment Methodology for ICT Solutions is a sector-agnostic methodology which delineates requirements for a comprehensive comparison of scenarios with and without ICT solutions in a given implementation context. The methodology enables the quantification of both the positive contribution (e.g., carbon reduction) and negative contributions (e.g., solution’s direct footprint) of a given ICT solution in CO2 equivalents (CO2e).


To provide further guidance on applying the methodology for ICT solutions within the EGDC six priority sectors — namely energy, construction/building, smart cities, agriculture, transport and manufacturing — sector-specific methodologies were developed. These methodologies complement the Net Carbon Impact Assessment Methodology for ICT Solutions by illustrating the practical application of each requirement within the context of the respective sectors.


The development of EGDC methodologies was a collaborative effort driven by industry stakeholders. Active engagement with EGDC Members, Supporting Partners, and industry representatives, including SMEs, was facilitated through Working Groups. Furthermore, the EGDC Pilot Project established an Advisory Board comprising global experts from academia, think tanks, and industry to gather additional expertise and validate the methodology. In order to ensure widespread adoption and relevance of the methodology, the Pilot Project aligned with existing methodologies and standardization bodies.

Who can use the EGDC Methodology?

By providing consistent and comparable methods for assessments of ICT solutions’ impact, the EGDC empowers stakeholders globally to make informed decisions. The methodology can be leveraged by a broad spectrum of decision-makers in companies, the investment community, local authorities and financial institutions, driving the development and deployment of digital solutions that can deliver a net positive impact on the climate.


What if my core business is not covered by the EGDC methodology?

EGDC members whose core business is not covered by the methodology (e.g., connectivity) are not expected to report according to the EDGC Methodology. However, they are still encouraged to use it for those services and activities that might be covered and to promote the methodology to their partners and clients, as appropriate.

All the coalition members are obliged to follow & apply the EGDC methodology. This requirement is extended to all external reports or      affirmations on net carbon savings, such that they follow the methodology guidelines. Further, all internal and external reporting should also comply with the EGDC methodology.

Organizations can leverage the EGDC methodology for several strategic functions, including:


Facilitating the Evaluation of ICT Solutions for GHG Emission Reduction: The methodology is instrumental in guiding organizations through the systematic assessment of data-driven ICT solutions that contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, aligning with the criteria set forth by the EU Taxonomy for sustainable activities.


Calculating and Monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): It provides a structured approach to measure and track KPIs that reflect the investments made in developing and deploying ICT solutions. These solutions are characterized by their substantial energy and material efficiency, ultimately contributing to a net positive environmental impact.


The EGDC methodology does that by doing the below:

  • Assessment of Net Carbon Impact: It defines the process for evaluating the net carbon impact of an ICT solution within specific and multiple implementation scenarios, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the solution’s environmental footprint.
  • Distinguishing Between Actual and Potential Impacts: The methodology distinguishes between assessments of impacts that have already been realized and the future potential impacts, enabling a temporal analysis of ICT solutions’ environmental effects.
  • Communication and Reporting of Carbon Impact: Guidance is provided on the appropriate mechanisms for communicating or reporting on the net carbon impact of a single ICT solution, including the substantiation of any associated environmental claims.
  • Attribution of Contributions to Carbon Impact: It addresses the allocation of credit for contributing to the net carbon impact of an ICT solution, specifying how and to what extent each contributor can claim responsibility for the positive outcomes.
  • Aggregation of Impacts Across Multiple Solutions: The methodology offers a framework for aggregating the impacts of various ICT solutions, facilitating a collective assessment of their cumulative effect on carbon footprint reduction.

Certainly. The EGDC methodology is designed to empower organizations to quantify and monitor the net savings delivered by their ICT solutions. This methodology is crafted to provide a comprehensive framework that considers the various impacts and benefits of ICT, enabling organizations to assess the environmental footprint of their digital services and products.


Any Organization interested in understanding the sustainability benefits of their ICT can apply the EGDC methodology to evaluate the reduction in carbon emissions achieved through their digital implementations.


Using the EGDC methodology, organizations can produce tangible data on their contributions to sustainability, which can be communicated to stakeholders, including investors, customers, and regulatory bodies, demonstrating their commitment to environmentally responsible operations.

The specified standard is designed for analysts who are intricately engaged in the various stages of ICT solutions—encompassing development, deployment, and practical application. It serves as a vital tool for these professionals who seek to evaluate the multifaceted impact of ICT solutions, particularly in terms of their environmental footprint.


The utility of this methodology extends beyond the immediate realm of ICT. It is equally applicable to diverse sectors that are embracing ICT solutions, providing them with a robust framework to systematically assess the net carbon impact of these technologies. By adopting this methodology, sectors can make informed decisions about the integration of ICT solutions with a clear understanding of their environmental implications.


The outcomes of these assessments will aid decision-makers in organisations, the investment community, and government bodies driving and financing the development and deployment of ICT solutions.

There are four overarching steps involved in using the EGDC Net Carbon Impact Assessment methodology to assess a solution: Defining the assessment, identifying, effects calculating effects and, analysis of results & other environmental impacts. Once these steps have been achieved, further guidance is provided for assessors on how and when they can use the results attained to assess impacts for other implementation contexts.


For detailed information on how to get started in assessing a solution, consult the ‘Net Carbon Impact Assessment Methodology for ICT Solutions’. Guidance around the implementation of ICT solutions in specific sectors can be found in the EGDC Sector Methodologies for agriculture, buildings and construction, manufacturing, power, smart cities, and transport.

Sector-specific methodologies