FS 1: Greening Internet Governance, Part II – Enabling an Environmentally Sustainable Digital Transformation in Europe
Rapporteur: Vesna Manojlovic, RIPE NCC
- The implementation of regulatory frameworks that are practical, effective and incentive-based is necessary to promote the environmental sustainability of the ICT sector, measure its impact on the environment, ensure transparency and corporate accountability, increase circular production and consumption, discourage illegitimate exports of e-waste, and to promote material efficiency by increasing the reuse and repairability of devices.
- Standardised methodology and indicators are imperative. Increased cooperation, data sharing, and external auditing are crucial to assess and monitor the environmental impact of the ICT sector, avoid greenwashing, and to promote transparency in data and algorithms and enhance the “de facto” sustainability of the digital world. This would possibly imply different governance structures to provide access to this data.
- Education is a crucial tool for sustainability. On one hand, both academic and practical exchanges of young people are essential for the development of (new) sustainable business models, on the other hand only awareness and transparency can counteract the ever-increasing levels of consumption and lead to informed choices that will help consumers shape their relationship with technological devices.
- More support and inclusion of smaller actors (small and medium-sized enterprises) is key. Decentralization needs to be promoted to limit the strain of energy and resources.
- Sustainability needs to go hand-in-hand with access, as it’s crucial to bridge the digital divide and decrease inequality by developing not only models of ownership, but also models of access.
- In order to maximise benefits from the upcoming “right to repair” legislation, there are needs for improvements on every level: users need to be educated in repair skills , manufacturers need to provide both modular designs, product life-cycle support, and data about every phase; and procuring organisations – public and private sector – need incentives and know-how to choose the products and technologies that initially might require larger investment in both money and skills, but may have larger return on investment over longer time periods.