Digital is changing our production and consumption patterns and presents innovative solutions in different areas to accelerate the ecological transition.
WWF highlights 4 environmental and social challenges of this transition:
- Greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution
- Pollution and impacts on biodiversity
- Resource depletion and circular economy
- Social issues
“SNCF is continuing its commitment to responsible digital technology in the face of the challenge of developing sustainable mobility, a key vector of which is its digital transformation. “ Thierry Vonck, e.SNCF, Group CIO, Digital Manager
The Collectif Conception Numérique Responsable (Responsible Digital Design Collective) brings together experts and private and public organisations in favour of responsible design of digital services. Their values are based on transparency (fighting greenwashing), diversity, openness (and sharing) and accountability.
This community aims to integrate sustainable development issues in order to reduce environmental impacts and improve the societal footprint of companies. Its ambition is to become the European reference in terms of ecodesign of digital services thanks to 3 points :
- Advanced expertise (tools, methods and proposed solutions) ;
- Dynamism (representativeness in France and abroad) ;
- Recognition (its various expert and “non-expert” partners)
We can thus use the term sustainable development, which results in particular from human behaviour and which is defined in the Brundtland Report as a willingness to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. “It encourages individuals to make efficient use of different resources: environmental (reducing the ecological footprint), social (accessibility of services and software) and economic. Major tools are used to assess the various human impacts such as the life cycle of a product.
It is therefore essential to ask “At what stage in the life cycle of electronic equipment do impacts occur?”.
According to a study conducted by GreenIT.fr, health impacts and the depletion of non-renewable resources take place at the beginning and end of a product’s life. Indeed, the manufacture of computer tools emits 48% of greenhouse gases.
To remedy this, designers must minimize the use of scarce resources in these products to maximize their recycling and promote their lifespan. Indeed, in 2020, 45% of the total energy footprint of Digital comes from the production phase.
Nevertheless, in 2020, especially since containment, there has been a 30% drop in CO2 emissions. This can be explained by the drastic reduction in industrial activities dependent on oil and coal, and the cessation of our travel, including air travel, which accounts for 4% of greenhouse gas emissions. This exceptional event illustrates the human impact on the environment.
To conclude, it is therefore relevant to focus on this digital transition, particularly in highly developed countries, with the aim of having a smaller environmental footprint in the years to come.