SEEDIG 7 Series

SEE sustainable future: Twinning green and digital | 6 September 2021

Event description

The second event within the SEEDIG 7 Series framework was dedicated to SEE sustainable future: Twinning green and digital and took place on 6 September 2021 from 10:00 to 11:30 CEST via Zoom.

If you had to name the 2021 buzzwords in the world of technology, you would most likely recall twinning green and digital. The world’s digital industries, currently responsible for around 16% of global GDP, are at last accelerating their efforts to “green” their businesses.  It is certainly good news that they are committed to reducing the energy consumption of the equipment used to run the Internet (tangible assets including data centres, servers and end-user terminals). But this is a very long way from being enough.

The demand for traffic, data and digital services, which represent the intangible part of the Internet, is expected to continue its exponential growth, with global Internet traffic expected to double every year. This trend has accelerated during the pandemic. Global Internet traffic increased by almost 40% between February and mid-April 2020 during the height of the lockdown due to the growth in video streaming, video conferencing, online gaming, and social networking. Unfortunately, the environmental impacts of these intangible elements of the digital economy are not being measured, managed or accounted for by regulators and environmental impact assessments.  

Excluding these intangibles not only prevents accurate assessment of the full environmental impact of the Internet but also has a significant and negative impact on the digital industry’s ability to meet its sustainability commitments.

For the SEE region, sustainable digitalisation presents both an opportunity and a challenge. We, at SEEDIG, want to see our region leading in the green and digital transition, and this is why we went live for a fireside chat and community discussion.

Agenda

Keynote fireside chat with:

Ilias Iakovidis | PhD, Adviser | DG-CONNECT, European Commission

Frederic Donck | President | DigitalGoes.green

Moderator: Vesna Manojlovic | Community Builder | RIPE NCC

Questions addressed

  • Why and when green should meet digital?
  • What does it take to build a sustainable digital future?
  • How can the SEE region avoid lagging behind? 
  • Is digitalisation a solution to reach EU Green Deal goals or mostly pollution?
  • Are we calculating the impact of the ICT sector correctly?
  • How do we know when digitalisation has a net positive effect on the environment and climate?
  • Do we know the direct footprint and the carbon reduction of specific digital solutions applied in transport, energy, agriculture, construction, smart cities, manufacturing etc.?
  • How can the potential of digitalisation be realised through climate action recovery funds?

Messages from the event

"In the SEE region, digitalisation accompanied by green gains, such as emissions or pollution reduction, can open up new opportunities. By adding the green dimension to their product and services, local companies can be more competitive and be the preferred solutions by governments, international institutions and large companies. Innovation is not only about technology. It is also about people and local knowledge. The advantage of small and medium enterprises is that they understand the local settings and culture, understand the problems in a bottom-up manner, and can tailor better their digital solutions. Moving to circular economy and product-as-a-service is also opportunity for SMEs in SEE. Those that understand the synergy and key opportunities of green and digital transitions will be better fit for the future."

Ilias Iakovidis, Adviser, DG-CONNECT, European Commission Tweet

"Bridging the gap in regional digitisation needs to be done with a green mindset and through a collaborative effort of all interested stakeholders to make digital services green by design. Apart from measuring the environmental impact of ICTs, greening equipment and infrastructure, the companies also need to think about the intangible part of the internet and change the way they design the online services by, for example, incorporating sustainable interaction design with a user."

Frédéric Donck, President, DigitalGoes.green Tweet

Co-organiser

DigitalGoes.Green is an international non-for-profit organisation, based in Brussels, committed to bridging digital and green transformations of our societies. Recognising that the digital economy is circular, DigitalGoes.Green works with every stakeholder involved in the financing, design, development and deployment of digital services. The organisation launches effective processes for long term, future proof and sustainable digital services that are “green by design”, creating value for every stakeholder in the digital ecosystem.