Data Carbon Ladder

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Scientists have developed a new tool to calculate digital carbon footprint of stored data.


  • It is a tool to calculate emissions from digital data.


  • It is to help businesses measure the carbon emissions from their digital data.


  • This tool is first of its kind.
  • Consideration of data CO2 footprint is important for effective global decarbonisation policies.
    • Data centres contribute 2.5% to 3.7% of all human-induced CO2. This is more than the contribution from the aviation sector (2.1%).


  • It will help calculate data CO2 footprint from the origin of the dataset to its end use, eg: AI analytics.
  • It gives stage-by-stage CO2 output and overall CO2 footprint for new data projects.
  • It will help determine
    • The appropriate size of the required dataset
    • The optimal frequency for updates
    • The most suitable storage locations
    • The necessary analytics for projects
  • This it does by assigning data carbon scores.


  • By researchers from Loughborough University, UK.


  • The amount of digital data is increasing 2X every year.
  • Data-driven businesses employ 100 full-time employees which will generate some 2,203 tonnes of CO2 emission/ year because of new data.
  • Global data is expected to surpass 180 zettabytes, by 2025.


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