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As a global leader, Defra needs to ensure Information Communications Technology (ICT) is rationalised, resilient, responsible, and free from exploitation throughout our digital infrastructure and associated supply chains.

Sustainable and green ICT is an area Defra has managed across government departments for over a decade. We chair a cross-government group (Sustainable Technology Advice and Reporting - STAR) which includes 80 members from various government department’s agencies and bodies, academia, professional and tech bodies, and charities.

We also manage the Government Digital Sustainability Alliance, which is a collaborative partnership made up of existing or prospective suppliers to the UK Government, working with members varying from small and medium enterprises to multinational global firms.

Highlighting the role of ICT as a key enabler to a greener, more sustainable way of working is of paramount importance. Therefore, for the first time we have ensured sustainable ICT is included within the update of the Greening Government Commitments 2021-2025 (GGC), and the annual reports and accounting process (ARA), essentially departments wider sustainability and financial reporting.

In addition, all ICT and digital projects and programmes, subject to the spend controls process, will be obligated to include sustainable ICT, as part of an updated Technology Code of Conduct measured in order to progress with the Chief Digital and Data Office processes.

Within Defra, through our procurements we ensure that 100% of our projects and programmes are firstly assessed for sustainability (i.e. likely impacts and benefits). Then, on the novel and contentious ones, we insert globally leading criteria through tendering to ensure any new suppliers assist Defra group meet our stringent net zero targets, and social value ambitions. And it should be noted we apply tougher levels of these than any other government departments.

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