posted by Sandra Antonovic


Ericsson Croatia joined our 10:10 community in July 2010. Ericsson Croatia did not work only on lowering their own carbon emissions - they took the whole thing one dimension further. Using their expertise and experiences, they helped the entire healthcare network in Croatia lower their carbon emissions.

The Ericsson Croatia team expalins how:

ICT solutions can have significant transformative impacts on energy consumption and CO2 emissions, as seen in an e-health system provided by Ericsson in Croatia. The Croatian government wanted to offer to its citizens a more efficient health information system. A solution was developed with the goal of integrating healthcare processes, information management and business workflows.

Connecting 2400 primary healthcare teams in the 20 counties and the capital, Zagreb, the Healthcare Networking Information System provides electronic reporting and booking, updates patient records, and digitalizes prescriptions and referrals, so they can be sent to pharmacies, hospitals and laboratories without the need for printouts.


In this case study, the ICT system included the software and equipment required for the e-health system. The components of the system were PCs and data centers. The Business As Usual (BAU) system covered the existing healthcare system, including all associated activities and emissions. Changes to these emissions resulting from enabling effects identified the relevant BAU components.

Figure 2

The Figure 2 summarizes all potential effects that were identified.


Calculations to arrive at the figures in Figure 3 used a mix of secondary and modeled data. The following assumptions were used:

Figure 3

  • The e-referral service can reduce patient visits (approximately 12 million per year) by 50%.

  • On average, patients travel 10km + 10km per visit. Twenty-five percent of patients travel by car; the other 75% by public transport.

  • The e-prescription service can reduce paper consumption by 50%

Secondary and other data was used to determine average paper production and Croatian electricity differences from globally reported figures. Croatian demographic data was used to guide assumptions. As the e-health delivery system runs on PCs rather than a dedicated e-health device, a decision was also made to allocate emissions from the entire solution infrastructure to e-referral and e-prescription.

Taken together, the e-referral and e-prescription services have the potential to reduce CO2e emissions by up to 15,000 tonnes per year while the two services only add 330 tonnes of CO2e/year from operation and manufacturing activities.

The potential reduction ratio over a 20-year period is up to 1:45, depending on whether infrastructure is included and, if so, to what extent.


We see ICT as fundamental to industries and other areas of society increasing efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. It is essential that we get ICT and telecom onto the global climate agenda, and promote broadband as a vital part of a more sustainable society.

Fixed and mobile broadband solutions are already improving many of the necessities of life, such as transportation, energy supply, and the way we build and live in our homes and cities. They are allowing us to shift from dependency on a high-carbon 20th century physical infrastructure to a low-carbon 21st century information based infrastructure. By 2020, we see some 50 billion connected devices. This will revolutionize the way we live and work – and broadband will be the foundation upon which the new services will be based.

To understand the impact of this transformation on sustainability, we talk about the "2 and the 98 percent".

2 and the 98 percent

The ICT industry is estimated to be responsible for about 2 percent of global CO2 emissions today, and it is vital to decrease this footprint. The remaining 98 percent comes from other industries, such as energy production and supply, transport, or construction. The ways ICT can reduce CO2 emissions can be surprising, and the results dramatic. Smart, low-carbon communications can provide both transformative and incremental solutions.

Transformative and incremental change Travel substitution – transporting information instead of products and people – and what is known as "dematerialization" – reducing the physical resources needed to provide a product or service – are the two main transformative effects of ICT.

Transformative Effects