Digital Sustainability (full report)

Role: Author

Summary
This report is an introduction to digital sustainability and a net-positive approach.

Digital sustainability is the means by which digitalisation,
as a key part of the fourth industrial revolution, can deliver on
the global sustainability goals. In this report, when we refer to ICT solutions, we mean any solution that is enabled by digitalisation: not only classical ICT solutions such as teleworking, but also many of the new innovative solutions, including most new business models based on services rather than products, as these require ICT systems.

In a net-positive approach, the focus is on how an organisation can provide the sustainable solutions that are needed in various different parts of society, beyond its own operation. This differs from a traditional sustainability perspective, in which the focus is on philanthropy and the
organisation’s negative impacts over its life cycle.

Link to full report 

Digital Sustainability (abridged version)

Role: Author

Summary
This is an introduction to digital sustainability and a net-positive approach for companies, as well as an overview of how Cybercom is working with clients to deliver sustainable solutions. Net positive is an approach in which the focus is on how a company, primarily through its goods and services, can provide the sustainable solutions that are needed in various parts of society. This differs from a traditional sustainably perspective, which tends to consider only the company’s negative impacts over the lifecycle.

Link to the abridged version

Belt and Road Initiative's 'new vision' (article in China Daily)

Role: author

Op-ed in China Daily

Full text
The Belt and Road Initiative is one of the most important initiatives on the planet right now. Not because of its economic and geographical magnitude, but because of its potential to create something new and much needed. The initiative has the potential to take a significant step toward a 21st-century sustainable network that connects all countries in a way that benefits everyone on more equal terms.

In order for Belt and Road to be the first major infrastructure project to integrate a digital sustainability perspective for the 21st century, and actually deliver on the ground, global collaboration is needed.

At China's 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last month, the Belt and Road Initiative was included in the Party's Constitution. There now can be no doubt about the long-term commitment on the Chinese side. Minor delays and setbacks are therefore less important, but partnerships that support the initiative's ambitious agenda, especially the sustainability and digitalization agenda, are needed. Here, the European Union could play an important role, especially in central and eastern areas where significant investment will occur.

At the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in May, President Xi Jinping summarized the sustainability and digitalization aspect of Belt and Road in the following way:

For sustainability, "we should pursue the new vision of green development and a way of life and work that is green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable. Efforts should be made to strengthen cooperation in ecological and environmental protection and build a sound ecosystem so as to realize the goals set by the (United Nations') 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."

For digitalization, "we should pursue innovation-driven development and intensify cooperation in frontier areas such as digital economy, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and quantum computing, and advance the development of big data, cloud computing and smart cities so as to turn them into a digital silk road of the 21st century."

An infrastructure project with such an approach to sustainability and digitalization is very different from what we see today around the world, including in the EU and China.

In the same way as we cannot any longer only think of paper books in a world with e-books, or CDs in a world where it is possible to stream music, we cannot think of roads, bridges and tunnels only as physical constructions. We need to include all-new sustainable ways that can provide the service the old infrastructure used to provide.

Today, people can have meetings virtually and work remotely, and we are just in the beginning of a revolution with additive manufacturing. Rapid technological development in key areas allows goods and people to move in new ways, from drones to ultra-high-speed trains. The combined result of trends like these is the possibility of a radically different infrastructure, one that can be globally sustainable.

We must ask what goods must move physically, what can be produced more efficiently locally, what can be dematerialized, and what can use new smart means of transportation, in order to ensure global sustainability and fair economic development.

Further, the physical infrastructure must merge with the digital. A smart resource-efficient and fossil-free physical infrastructure can even be a net producer of renewable energy in many cases.

For international collaboration to happen, it is important that the vision and goals of the Belt and Road Initiative are communicated; a dedicated webpage would be appropriate. On this webpage, different aspects, including digitalization and sustainability, but also peace, prosperity and innovation, could be reported in close to real time. This would allow interested stakeholders to help improve and access relevant information.

A global sustainability filter should also be developed and implemented in all strategic projects. Such a filter would increase the probability that all infrastructure projects, not just Belt and Road projects, support a sustainable global economy in 2100. This future world is likely to include at least 11 billion people, must emit no greenhouse gas emissions, and must be based on a sustainable and equitable use of natural resources.

If the Belt and Road Initiative contributes to such global sustainability, it will be a physical and digital road toward an ecological civilization.

The author is founder of Sweden-based consultancy 21st Century Frontiers. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily European Weekly 11/24/2017 page9)

Link to the article 

Transformative Step of the Day during COP-17 (competition)

Role: Project coordinator

Summary
At COP17 in Durban, the Transformative Step of the Day initiative was launched in conjunction with the global climate negotiations to increase focus on transformative low-carbon solutions and how they can be supported in the process.

The purpose is to facilitate dialogue between policymakers and solution providers on how transformative solutions can be promoted in the climate negotiations and beyond.

This will support the goal that transformative low-carbon solutions are recognized in relevant parts of the climate negotiations, and that initiatives accelerating their uptake are recognized.

Government leaders and solution sectors will present concrete examples of transformative low-carbon solutions from around the world directly to the negotiators in order to demonstrate the need to support their accelerated uptake.

Short video from Christiana Figueres welcoming transformative step of the day

Short video from Georg Kell welcoming transformative step of the day

Short video from Achim Steiner welcoming transformative step of the day

Download leaflet

Transformative transparency (Report)

Role: Author

Summary
Transformative transparency occurs at the threshold point at which massive amounts of data on goods, services, or even individuals, can be accessed instantly, in ways that allow users, or programs, to make decisions and provide immediate feed-back.

At such a point, an interactive “reality search engine,” i.e, a situation in which objects and events in reality, not words or sentences on the web, are processed, becomes possible.

This requires an infrastructure with high connectivity and a critical mass of users who engage with this information. The current situation with smart phones and connected devices indicates that we have just arrived at this point.

Full report here

 

Assessment of Global Low-Carbon and Environmental Leadership in the ICT Sector (Report)

Role: author with Simon Mingay

Summary

The information and communication technology (ICT) industry and its individual providers are at an important juncture. Are they really going to commit themselves to the necessary investments to develop low-carbon and environmental solutions during a period when, with some exceptions (such as energy-efficient ICT equipment, intelligent buildings and smart grids), the markets for any such solutions are at best emerging? We look at which providers are placing their bets and developing the capabilities that will make them effective innovation partners for enterprises and give them platforms for leadership in a low-carbon and more sustainable economy.

Key Findings

During 2009 and 2010, there has been rapid progress in the maturity of ICT vendors in terms of their internal environmental programs and in terms of the development of a set of low-carbon market offerings. The dominance of talking in 2008 has evolved into a lot more action in 2010 in terms of suitable products, services development and policy- related activity.

We now have a clear group of market makers (BT, IBM, Cisco, Ericsson, HP, Fujitsu and SAP) that we believe are beginning to build distinguishing capabilities.

The 2008 leaders, such as IBM, BT, Ericsson, Fujitsu and HP, have maintained their relatively strong positions with good, well-rounded low-carbon and environmental programs, improving their own internal performance, and developing market-facing solutions ranging from more-energy-efficient ICT equipment and mobile phone networks, through logistics and transportation, to solutions that enable smart grids.

Aside from the important task of making ICT equipment more energy efficient, and a couple of particularly hot areas such as smart grids, developing solutions for a low- carbon economy is definitely not yet "core business."

With a couple of exceptions, the industry is hobbled by the short-term incremental sustainability-related goals that it is setting for itself, rather than setting more- challenging, longer-term goals that could result in transformative solutions.

There are limited signs of disruptive innovation, and more of a focus on incrementalism.

The industry is fearful of committing its weight to influencing national and international climate change and sustainability policy; rather, it is standing on the sidelines as a cheerleader.

© 2010 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner's research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

The industry no longer predominantly sees climate change and sustainability as a risk, but sees it as an emerging opportunity.

Service and software providers have improved their positions from 2008, but remain relatively immature in terms of their internal programs and their market offerings. SAP would stand out as a relatively strong performer with big improvements in its internal programs, transparency, product development and road map.

Management of the environmental performance of the supply chain remains an area of significant differentiation, demanding much higher standards from everyone if the ICT industry is to credibly defend its position as a climate leader.

ICT providers in Asia (not Japan) are still lagging overall, but we have seen some dramatic improvements, and we would anticipate that continuing.

IT organizations still need to pay close attention to the balanced nature of the programs from IT providers, covering all areas of influence from direct, indirect and policy issues. We still see plenty of examples of providers with significant gaps in their programs.

Interindustry partnerships are starting to emerge, particularly from the leaders. For example, IBM and Johnson Controls developing intelligent building solutions. These partnerships are a very significant and important step in the ability of ICTs to develop commercially viable solutions for a low-carbon economy.

While the recent Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report outlining a high-level methodology for measuring the enabling effects of ICT related to the climate is a good step forward, the industry has so far only made a limited attempt at measuring the environmental benefits of its solutions, and has made no attempt at all to understand their systemic and rebound impacts. (That is, the indirect and frequently unforeseen change in behaviors, consumption patterns and so on, resulting from the introduction of new technologies, policy measures, etc.)

The industry continues to bask in the afterglow of the Smart 2020 report (www.smart2020.org), when it should really be moving that thinking forward at a much faster pace.

Link to report

The Day Technology Saved the Planet Transformative Solutions in a Time of Crisis (article) in Technology in a Cold Climate

Role: Author 

The Project
Technology in a Cold Climate aims to engender a greater understanding among the technology sector and policy makers about the role that technologies could play in meeting the UK’s ambitions and challenges.

Summary
A revolutionary transformation of society based on new technology would allow the UK to take the lead towards a sustainable economy. This transformation would fundamentally change how the economy works and how many resources are used and in what ways, while most of the physical infrastructure would look almost identical to what is around us today.

Such a revolution is required by the “perfect storm” that increased pressure on the planetʼs resources will create, and enabled by accelerated technological developments. Approached in a strategic way, these converging trends can be directed to spur innovation and creativity on
a level that humanity has never seen before.

Instead of trying to identify specific solutions that could provide sustainable solutions, we should look to support clusters that are likely to trigger a multitude of changes. For a sustainable future three ICT clusters are particularly important:

1. Connectivity: ensuring a 21st century communication infrastructure
2. Miniaturisation: enabling ubiquitous computing (ubicomp)
3. Integration: facilitating the emergence of augmented reality (AR)

Link to full article

Link to Technology in a Cold Climate

Assessment of Global Low-Carbon and Environmental Leadership in the ICT Sector (Report)

Role: author with Simon Mingay

Summary
With increased pressure to reduce carbon emissions, enterprises are approaching this new situation in very different ways. Some are still struggling to assess their own business environmental and climate impact. Other enterprises approach the need to reduce carbon emissions among customers as an opportunity to move beyond their relatively smaller direct impact and also focus on the opportunity that low-carbon ICT services can provide. The difference in how companies approach the need for a low- carbon economy is creating a new corporate landscape where new winners and losers will emerge and where ICT customers must learn to navigate. This is an assessment of 24 of the industry's world-leading providers and an analysis of where the ICT industry is today in relation to its maturity in mitigating environmental risks and exploiting the opportunities that the need for reduced carbon emissions will create.

Key Findings

  • 2008 has seen the emergence of some low-carbon "leaders" in the ICT industry. They are just starting to wake up to the risks and opportunities of climate change, and move beyond pushing a more energy-efficient device. However, on the whole, the industry has been sleepwalking toward a low-carbon economy. 2009 will see rapid progress.

  • There is frequently more talking than there is action on behalf of the ICT providers. The results show those who need to make significant steps forward if their actions are to match their marketing.

  • Some of the "self-professed" leaders in environmental performance have some significant weaknesses in their programs.

  • Most providers still view "the environment" and "climate change" as a risk rather than as an opportunity.

  • Most ICT technology providers have outsourced most, if not all, manufacturing. So looking at the vendors' performance is looking at the tip of the iceberg — which is further compounded by most of those vendors only looking at the environmental performance of their Tier 1 suppliers.

  • Service organizations are quite immature in their environmental programs and their innovation for a low-carbon economy.

  • There is a lack of interindustry partnerships to create innovative solutions to tackle high- carbon areas of the economy.

    © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner's research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

  • The vendors from Asia (not Japan) are still lagging behind but some have begun to put comprehensive programs in place, and it is likely that they will move rapidly to the front in this area, driven by the urgent needs for low-carbon solutions in their domestic markets.

  • Fifteen of the 24 providers invited to participate did so, which is a good level of commitment from the industry. However, nine providers chose not to participate. With one exception, we believe that reflects their immaturity in environmental and low-carbon leadership.

  • This is a rapidly changing area.

Link to report

Creating the First Sustainable Innovation Zone: SIZ (Leaflet)

Role: Project supervisor

Summary
The Sustainable Innovation Zone, SIZ, is an internal HP web portal engaging employees to share ideas on ICT applications that can help reduce CO2 emissions. Rather than focusing on how HP can reduce its own environmen- tal impact, the SIZ focuses on how HP can help custo- mers reduce their carbon footprint by using HP solutions.

The SIZ promotes ICT applications that signi cantly reduce CO2 emissions, the use of resources and improve service quality.

Download the leaflet

IT och en hållbar utveckling: Svenska regeringens forum för IT och miljö (Report)

IT-hållbar+utveckling.jpg

Role: co-author with Ewa Thorslund

Comment
Jag tror detta var första gången som svenska regeringen tillsatte en grupp för att studera förhållandet mellan hållbarhet och ICT (men inte den sista). Jag var i slutet av skrivandet av "Sustainability at the speed of light" då processen påbörjades så jag tyckte det passade perfekt. Jag trodde att detta skulle bli ett politiskt genombrott för ICT/hållbarghet, men i princip inget hände. Jag har blivit allt mer försiktig att delta i processer där allt som händer är att människor möts och skriver en rapport som inte resulterar i något. Med tiden har jag förstått att det är en hel industri med grupper som försörjer sig på att stödja processer som inte är tänkta att resultera i något mer än att bekräfta dagens situation. 

Summary
Regeringen tillsatte under 2001 ett forum för IT och miljö med mandat till december 2003. Syftet med forumet var att skapa en naturlig plattform för informations- och kommunikationsteknik (ICT) och ekologiskt hållbar utveckling. Arbetet bedrivs genom en arbetsgrupp med företrädare för både industri, forskning, Naturvårdsverket, departement samt representanter från miljöorganisationer.

Miljöminister Lena Sommestad utsågs till ordförande i forumet. Målet för forumets arbete är att kartlägga hur IT-tillämpningar i högre grad kan utnyttjas för att minska miljöpåverkan och främja en hållbar utveckling, och hur man kan stimulera olika aktörer för att nå detta mål. I gruppens mandat ingick att särskilt studera de möjligheter som IT-användningen ger åt framväxten av ny infrastruktur samt produkter och tjänster som tär mindre på resurser och miljö. Naturvårdsverket ansvarade för forumets sekretariat. Följande dokument har utformats av Dennis Pamlin och Ewa Thorslund inom ramen för ovanstående forum.

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