Creating a digital environmental footprint: a Life Cycle Assessment approach (EN)

Max Schulze

Playlists: 'bub2022' videos starting here / audio

Can we measure the environmental impact of digital products and services? We think we can, and we are already well on our way towards finding out the true environmental impact of digital products and services. During this session, we will present new perspectives, new knowledge, and what problems we still need to solve.

With its work on the Digital Environmental Footprint, the SDIA is bringing the right people together to develop a new approach to measuring & reporting the total environmental impact of the digital economy. Based on the existing academic work and methodologies, the DEF provides the frameworks, tools and strategies to implement end-to-end measurement across the supply chain of digital products & services. We have chosen to build on the Life Cycle Assessment methodology, since it can give us great insights on the environmental impact of products and services. We believe that to measure is to know: data used in an LCA can give us what we need to report on our environmental impact, and to improve our products, services, and therefore our businesses. By using a clear taxonomy of the value chain, and an innovative conversion key called the Digital Resource Primitives, we have completed end-to-end energy measurement of a server. We believe it is important to find a way to transparently measure the actual impact of digital products and services, both for developers and the user, as it gives them more power and control over developing or picking the more sustainable product. To make this choice easier in the long run, we aim to create a label for these products. This drives political engagement, since there is a large role for governing bodies in regulating the data that needs to be made transparent by organisations involved along the value chain of digital products and services. We want companies to be able to feel empowered to do these life cycle assessments themselves, and feel empowered to share this with their customers, improve, and create a more sustainable future together