In just a few years, digital transformations have profoundly changed our lifestyles and the way our societies function. Due to the rapid pace of innovation, digital technologies continually redefine our notions of time and space and profoundly change our ways of acquiring knowledge and information as well as our consumption patterns. Not only do they transform our lifestyles, they also shape the way our societies and market participants operate.
Digital technologies offer great opportunities to businesses and, if properly used, can contribute to environmental conservation and the well-being of people, but they are rather a significant source of environmental impacts.
The trend towards ever greater numbers of users and equipment and ever more intense digital uses will cause a sharp increase in digital-related impacts on the environment, for example, France’s carbon footprint from digitalisation could jump 60% by 2040 if nothing is done to limit it, although shortages in mineral and metal supplies are already threatening growth in the sector.
The new challenge for companies, therefore, is to pursue their digital transformation while reducing their environmental footprint. Since 2020, large corporate members of Entreprises pour l’Environnement (EpE) have been looking into the links between digitalisation and the environment in consultation with their stakeholders, under the aegis of EpE’s Digital and Environment Commission, chaired by Gilles Vermot Desroches, Director of Citizenship at Schneider Electric.
Managers and experts from those companies’ sustainable development and information systems departments have shared their corporate best practices and analysed the conditions for reducing the environmental footprint of digital technology (’Green IT’ section) and leveraging that technology to accelerate their ecological transition as well as that of society as a whole (‘IT for Green’ section).
This report summarises the work done and examines the strategies and practices designed to reduce the impact of digital technologies, measure their environmental footprint and monitor their uses by companies in order to accelerate the ecological transition.