How to reduce the environmental footprint of the technology sector to respond to the climate emergency?
Digital technologies have advanced faster than any other innovation in our history, reaching nearly half of the world’s population in just a couple of decades. They have enormous potential to achieve a more prosperous, sustainable and fair world; however, its environmental cost can be high.
Digital transformation brings many opportunities to society, but also implies, among others, an increase in energy consumption through the use of devices, distribution networks and data centers; the extraction of resources and the generation of waste associated with the manufacture and disposal of electronic devices; and/or emissions and other environmental impacts generated during the life cycle of technological solutions.
Recognizing the contribution and co-responsibility of the technology sector to the climate emergency, it is necessary to measure and reduce the environmental footprint of companies in the technology sector, both public and private (especially SMEs and startups), achieving that their products, services and/or infrastructure is carbon-neutral and that its environmental impact is minimal.
On the other hand, digital technologies are one of the main levers available to governments, companies, universities and research centers and citizens to achieve: (1) on a global scale, the targets set in the Paris Climate Change Agreement and in the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 (SDGs 7, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 15); (2) at regional level, the goals set in the European Union (EU) Action Plan for the circular economy and in the EU Digital Strategy that works hand in hand with the European Green Deal to propose green transformation measures for the ICT sector; and (3) at the local level, the Climate Plan 2018-2030 and the 2030 Agenda for the city of Barcelona.
The ICT sector in the Catalonia region represents an important area of opportunity as it is made up of 16,339 companies (year 2019). Barcelona is the fourth most innovative European city (Innovation Cities Index 2019) and the fourth city most prepared for the technological future (Index of Cities Readiness, 2017). The city is home to one of the three most powerful supercomputers in Europe and is the fifth European technology hub by volume of investment.
Solutions must be technological (software and / or hardware) , although they may be combined with consulting, strategic advisory and knowledge management activities. Solutions must be tested (from Technology Readiness Level 6 or higher) and their implementation must be technically feasible in less than 12 months . It will be positively valued that the solutions are scalable and that they are future-proof, that is, that they foresee immediate futures in terms of technological changes or trends and their respective regulatory frameworks.
Two prizes will be given that each winner will use to implement a pilot project in the city of Barcelona.
The solutions may focus, among others, on aspects such as:
• Measure, report and reduce the environmental footprint (including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions) of technological and / or ICT infrastructure products and services: 1) end devices, 2) information and data access and distribution networks, 3) data centers and business networks.
• Reduce the generation of e-waste , promote the circularity of technological products, identify traceability, extend their useful life, for example, with a life cycle approach, and / or facilitate its reuse, repair, renovation, remanufacturing and recycling.
• Improve energy efficiency , promote the use of renewable energy and incorporate sustainability criteria in the use and management of storage centers in data and / or in fixed and mobile data networks.
• Optimize data consumption and transmission (for example, in the field of video streaming solutions, video games, media and entertainment, etc.) and the performance of software and hardware applications (for example, the use of green coding, also called clean coding, and refactoring)
10 semi-finalist projects
Why to participate?
Digital Future Society Lab seeks technological solutions to measure and reduce the environmental footprint of companies in the technology sector, to implement a pilot project in the city of Barcelona.
How to participate?
Learn about the challenge and discover how you can help solve it.