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Published on 25 January 2021 In this section Digital sustainability

Responsible digital technologies: looking back on 2020

While politicians had already addressed the issue of responsible digital technologies in previous years, 2020 was marked by tangible actions, including the entry into force of the AGEC law and new bills. In this article, we propose an overview of the main provisions included in these laws or bills, and announcements relating to responsible digital technologies.

AGEC law: focus on digital technologies

The anti-waste law for a circular economy (AGEC), which came into force on 10 February 2020, includes a digital component. This law will be implemented in two phases.

As of 1st January 2021, the following measures are in effect:

  • Apply a reparability index, facilitate repair and promote the reuse of electronic equipment;
  • Communicate on how long it takes to update operating systems on computers and telephones.

On 1st January 2022, the following measures will come into force:

  • Communicate the legal guarantee of conformity and extend this guarantee;
  • Inform consumers of the GHG emissions relating to their fixed and mobile Internet consumption;
  • Enable the use of 3D printing for equipment repair.

In addition, the NégaOctet consortium, of which APL Data Center is a member, was commissioned by ADEME to develop a methodology for calculating the environmental characteristics and footprint to meet the marking, labeling and display requirements set out in article 13 of the AGEC law.

Senate bill to reduce the environmental impact of digital technologies

The Senate’s June 2020 roadmap on the environmental footprint of digital technologies became a reality on 12 October 2020 with a bill passed on 12 January 2021. The main provisions of this bill include:

  • Validate a software eco-design certification for the training of software engineers;
  • Include environmental impact in the companies’ CSR assessment;
  • Prohibit unlimited mobile plans;
  • Prohibit the automatic launch of videos and infinite scroll;
  • Encourage the installation of virtuous data centers in France.

 Amendment to the 2021 Finance Bill

An amendment to the 2021 Finance Bill, which will come into force on 1st January 2022, was adopted to:

  • Make the reduced rate of domestic tax on final electricity consumption (TICFE) subject to the implementation of an energy management system by data center operators;
  • Enable the government to make a cost-benefit analysis of a waste heat recovery system mandatory for data centers.

 Symposium on digital and environmental issues

A symposium on “Digital & Environmental Issues” was organized at Bercy on 8 October 2020. The following announcements were made:

  1. Implementation of cross-compliance for the electricity consumed by data centers;
  2. €21 million budget for the development of repair and reuse;
  3. Creation of a €300 million fund for Green Tech startup projects;
  4. €1 million for the “PERFECTO 2021” call for research projects;
  5. “ECONUM: eco-design of digital services” call for projects.

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