Assessing the net climate impact of digitalisation


Digitalisation is expected to have crucial transformative effects on the economy, society, and politics, as well as on the planet itself. There are many positive viewpoints that digital transformation could and should contribute to a better life for all, and in the same time to sustainable development. During this CONNECT University session high level experts focused on the indirect GHG reduction achieved through digitalisation, discussing possible opportunities and risks resulting from digitalisation and evaluating the indirect effects, including systemic environmental impacts associated with certain applications. Watch the recording and join us in steering the digitalisation into a more sustainable direction.

Background information

This event is part of the CONNECT University Summer School 2021 on Digital for our Planet that aims to present cutting-edge innovations addressing how can digital technologies be harnessed to tackle climate change, both in terms of a greener digital system, as well as their role in helping reducing carbon emissions across industries. Check this blogpost for the full programme and more information. 

Assessing the net climate impact of digitalisation


Moderator: Ilias Iakovidis, Adviser for Digital Aspects of Green Transformation, European Commission, DG CONNECT

Ilias works on EU wide measures and initiatives that aim to improve the energy and material efficiency of ICT, e.g., making datacentres climate neutral and digital devices more circular. He is focused on maximising the benefits of green digital transformation for environment/climate, society and economy. Ilias is working on digitalisation for circular economy (e.g. digital product passport) and on the European Green Digital Coalition. He is fostering cooperation of relevant stakeholders to develop consistent and transparent methods to estimate the net impact of digital solutions on environment/climate, and, green digital transformation in sectors such as energy, transport, construction, agriculture and others. Before 2017, Ilias was working for over 20 years on eHealth and ICT for active and healthy ageing. 

  • Pernilla Bergmark, Principal Researcher, Ericsson 

Pernilla Bergmark is a Principal Researcher at Ericsson focused on the sustainability impacts of ICT. Her research interests include methodology development and assessments related to climate impacts, circular economy, smart sustainable cities, and the Global Goals. Pernilla Bergmark is a co-author of the Exponential Roadmap for 1.5oC aligned climate action , a collaboration between Future Earth, Sitra, WWF, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, PIK, Ericsson and others, where she focused on policy and technology. She is also a co-author of the 1.5C Business Playbook, which is supported by 55+ partners from brands, enterprises, organisations and academia . Pernilla Bergmark is also active in standardization as a co-rapporteur of ITU SG5 Q9,  in ETSI EE, and in the Swedish national committee for cities, TC 268 (SIS TK 588). Lately, she has contributed to the development of the ICT sectoral decarbonization approach developed by ITU/GSMA/GESI for the SBTi.

  • George Kamiya, Digital/Energy Analyst, International Energy Agency 

George coordinates the IEA’s work on digitalisation and tracking clean energy progress, and leads the agency’s analysis on ICT energy use and new mobility. He was a lead author of the 2017 Digitalization & Energy report and has contributed to the agency’s work on climate change, electricity security, and critical minerals.

  • Andie Stephens, Associate Director, Carbon Trust 

Andie leads the Carbon Trust's work with ICT companies, advising them on their carbon measurement and reduction programmes. He has worked with a number of leading telecommunications companies on projects including setting science-based targets, scope 3 measurement, and developing net positive strategies where they quantify avoided emissions. He has worked with BT to develop the company's Net Zero 2045 target, and has also worked with AT&T, Dell, Safaricom, Samsung, Telefónica, Verizon, and Vodafone.

Andie led on the development of the ICT sector guidance for the GHG Protocol Product Standard and is a recognised global expert in carbon measurement, having contributed to the development of various international standards and European Commission ICT initiatives. He previously spent 20 years as an international consultant in software and manufacturing. He has an MA in Engineering from Cambridge University.

  • Vlad Coroama, Lecturer, ETH Zurich 

Vlad C. Coroamă is a lecturer and senior researcher with the Computer Science Department of the ETH Zurich, Switzerland. For two decades now, his research revolved around the relation between digitalisation and sustainability, in particular environmental sustainability. He contributed both methodologically, and with concrete assessments, to understanding the environmental impact of ICT in general and the Internet in particular. Vlad believes that climate change is the most urgent challenge of our times, and one of the greatest challenges ever faced by humankind. This is why today, his main research interest lies in exploring whether and how digitalisation can lead to society-wide dematerialisation and resource efficiency, and how to best exploit this potential, while understanding and avoiding the counteracting rebound effects.

EU Green Deal digital 4 sustainability climate change Digital for our Planet