Sustainable digitalisation refers to the process of digitalising the economy in a long-lasting, green, and organic way. It aims to support and enable Europe’s twin transitions to a green and digital economy by building on its key strength: innovative SMEs and their business ecosystems. In the long term, the goal of sustainable digitalisation is strengthening European digital sovereignty.
In this context, the European Green Digital Coalition (EGDC) is a brand-new initiative by the European Parliament, implemented by the European Commission’s DG CNECT. Its goal is to gather Europe’s top digital and green innovators and start a movement to inspire other companies to follow the path of sustainable digitalisation.
The European Green Digital Coalition (EGDC) is currently formed by 26 CEOs of ICT companies who signed a Declaration to support the Green and Digital Transformation of the EU on Digital Day 2021. The Declaration builds on the EU Council conclusions of December 2020 on Digitalisation for the benefit of the environment and recognises the ICT sector as a key player in the fight against climate change. With the signature of the Declaration, the 26 CEOs formed the EGDC, committing on behalf of their companies to take action in the following areas:
- investing in the development and deployment of green digital solutions with significant energy and material efficiency that achieve a net positive impact in a wide range of sectors
- developing methods and tools to measure the net impact of green digital technologies on the environment and climate by joining forces with NGOs and relevant expert organisations
- co-creating, with representatives of other sectors, recommendations and guidelines for the green digital transformation of these sectors that benefits environment, society, and economy
‘Green Digital Solutions’ are ICT solutions that contribute positively to environmental & climate targets. For example, by contributing to reduction or avoidance of GHG emissions many times more than the own footprint of these ICT solutions. In addition, digitalisation can also accelerate the transition to the circular economy, such as by tracking, tracing, and optimising the use of natural resources and enabling new sustainable business models, while supporting the resilience of our economy.
While the sustainability transition can benefit from digitalisation, the sustainability transition can in turn drive digital innovation and provide new opportunities for the digital industry to innovate and to become more competitive. The transition to a circular economy requires the creation of new digitally-enabled sustainable business models and opportunities in the EU where the first movers can harness the gains on global markets. This synergy between the green transition and digitalisation is the essence of the green digital transformation, leading to societal, environmental and economic benefits.
While methods of estimating the ICT sector’s carbon footprint are becoming standardised, the methods to measure ICT enablement still vary widely. Consistent and comparable assessment methods, such as indicators, metrics, and KPIs would be a welcome development for private and public investors. Such methods could be used by EU Taxonomy, public and private development and innovation funds, Green public and private procurers and more. The lack of such indicators can results in:
- lost opportunities for financing the development and deployment of green digital solutions
- obstacles to wider adoption by the Member States and regions to use Green Public procurements for ICT enabled solutions
- lack of credible evidence for by policymakers planning the green and digital twin transition
To improve the understanding of different sectors on how best to proceed with the green digital twin transition, EGDC aims to promote and enable cross-sectoral dialogues. This will lead to the creation of guidelines for the deployment of green digital solutions in sectors such as energy, transport, manufacturing, agri-food, and the building sector.