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Quick tips: Integrating the environment and climate change in and by digitalisation

Digital solutions can be powerful enablers to realise the objectives of the Green Deal. Digitalisation can contribute to the transition to a carbon neutral, green and circular economy in virtually all sectors. Digital entrepreneurship and connectivity infrastructure can serve as the backbone of IT-based circular economy business models. To underline the importance of digital technologies we only have to look around us to see that they have been instrumental in keeping our economies and societies running during the pandemic. Yet, the environmental footprint of digital technologies itself is significant. Rapidly growing electricity consumption, for example by data centres and mobile networks, contributes to global GHG emissions. Mining of raw materials is known for its serious social and environmental repercussions. Annually, 53 million tonnes of e-waste is produced. This ‘urban mine’ of e-waste has an estimated value of EUR 50 billion in recyclable metals, yet less than 20% is actually recycled. Digitalisation thus carries the potential to bring positive and negative consequences. To fully exploit the environmental advantages of digitalisation, targeted policies and actions are needed. This note provides quick practical tips to maximise the positive potential of ICT while preventing negative effects.

Also, check the associated document on Activities that qualify for Rio markers in digitalisation, and go to other sector-specific Quick Tips.

For further guidance on environment and climate change mainstreaming, please contact:

INTPA - NEAR Environment and Climate Change Mainstreaming Facility

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last update
19 May 2021

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