The European Green Digital Coalition (EGDC) was formed by 26 CEOs of ICT companies who signed a Declaration to support the Green and Digital Transformation of the EU on Digital Day 2021. The Declaration builds on the EU Council conclusions of December 2020 on Digitalisation for the benefit of the environment and recognises the ICT sector as a key player in the fight against climate change. With the signature of the Declaration, the 26 CEOs formed the EGDC, committing on behalf of their companies to take action in the following areas:
- investing in the development and deployment of green digital solutions with significant energy and material efficiency that achieve a net positive impact in a wide range of sectors
- developing methods and tools to measure the net impact of green digital technologies on the environment and climate by joining forces with NGOs and relevant expert organisations
- co-creating, with representatives of others sectors, recommendations and guidelines for green digital transformation of these sectors that benefits environment, society and economy
The main aim of the EGDC is to maximise the sustainability benefits of digitalisation. For example, by reducing and avoiding more emissions than the footprint of the ICT sector itself. There is a need to define science–based methods to estimate the reduction and avoidance of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by specific ICT solutions in different sectors, and to support a green digital transformation of sectors such as energy, transport, agriculture, and construction. This will accelerate their sustainability and circular transitions while contributing to an innovative, inclusive and resilient society. The EGDC does not represent a ‘green pledge of the ICT sector’ and is not an end in itself.
The EGDC members will work closely with the European Commission and others to deliver on their commitments and will report regularly on progress made. The first available results and progress reports will be presented in 2022.
They also welcomed the Declaration on A Green and Digital Transformation of the EU signed by 24 EU Countries and Norway and Iceland today, and welcome other leaders of companies active in the green digital transformation that have pledged to become climate neutral by 2040 to join them.
Four new members joined the EGDC ahead of the Digital Assembly on 1-2 June 2021:
Google, Matt Brittin, President, EMEA Business and Operations
KPN, Joost Farwerck, CEO
Siemens, Roland Busch, CEO
Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO
These members were joined by Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco in October 2021.
The call for tenders for the European Parliament Pilot project that will support the work of the EGDC opened on 28 May 2021. The project will promote the participation of experts from academia and NGOs, representatives of local authorities, and actors from priority sectors such as energy, transport, construction, agriculture and manufacturing. In this context, the tenderer will organise a consultation and coordinate the dissemination across the EU. A high-level event will follow in 2022, including a Green Digital Award ceremony.
The EGDC is open to interested companies. For a company to become a member of the EGDC, the executive leader of the company (CEO or President) needs to sign the declaration committing to the above actions and confirming that:
- the company has submitted or will submit shortly a sustainability pledge that is monitored by an independent organisation and publicly reported
- this sustainability pledge contains targets for reductions of GHG emissions, such as the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) guidance for ICT sector companies to set targets aligned with 1.5°C climate science
- that the pledge contains a commitment for the company to become climate neutral or net-zero no later than 2040
Members of the Coalition commit to make available staff and resources to work towards the actions. of the Declaration. It requires active participation from the companies involved. They will be called on to work on methodologies and standards together with relevant expert organisations and stakeholders. These methodologies and standards will help to measure the digital enablement. Companies will also work together to co-create deployment guidelines and recommendations for green digital solutions in different sectors that are beneficial to the environment and climate according to the defined metrics.
While the EGDC is only open to companies, associations and other public entities are welcome to support and amplify the work and results of the Coalition and the upcoming European Pilot Project.
Many organisations, including DigitalEurope, ETNO, GSMA, GeSI, Digital SME Alliance, Climate neutral Data Centre Pact, were instrumental insetting up the EGDC and can support their members interested in applying.
Interested companies that fulfil the above criteria can contact the mailbox of the coalition to discuss the details of the membership as well as your trade association. In case of SMEs, the Digital SME Alliance provides assistance to applicants. Forty-five SMEs and start-ups support the EGDC and many will take the sustainability commitments to join it.
Next steps for the EGDC also include the creation of associate membership for companies from different sectors, such as energy, transport, building, agriculture, manufacturing and retail. The EGDC will work in particular on deployment guidelines for specific sectoral use cases that show great enablement potential, and on accelerating the sustainability transition in these sectors.
ICT solutions are products or services that combine digital networks, technologies and applications. ‘Green Digital Solutions’ are ICT solutions that contribute positively to environmental & climate targets. For example, by contributing to reduction or avoidance of GHG emissions many times more than the own footprint of these ICT solutions. In addition, digitalisation can also accelerate the transition to circular economy, such as by tracking, tracing and optimising the use of natural resources and enabling new sustainable business models, while supporting the resilience of our economy.
While the sustainability transition can benefit from digitalisation, the sustainability transition can in turn drive digital innovation and provide new opportunities for the digital industry to innovate and to become more competitive. The transition to a circular economy requires the creation of new digitally-enabled sustainable business models and opportunities in the EU where the first movers can harness the gains on global markets. This synergy between the green transition and digitalisation is the essence of the green digital transformation, leading to societal, environmental and economic benefits.
While methods of estimating the ICT sector’s carbon footprint are becoming standardised, the methods to measure ICT enablement still vary widely. Consistent and comparable assessment methods, such as indicators, metrics, and KPIs would be a welcome development for private and public investors. Such methods could be used by EU Taxonomy, public and private development and innovation funds, Green public and private procurers and more. The lack of such indicators can results in:
- lost opportunities for financing the development and deployment of green digital solutions
- obstacles to wider adoption by Member States and regions to use Green Public procurements for ICT enabled solutions
- lack of credible evidence for by policy makers planning the green and digital twin transition
To improve the understanding of different sectors on how best to proceed with the green digital twin transition, EGDC aims to promote and enable cross-sectoral dialogues. This will lead to the creation of guidelines for the deployment of green digital solutions in sectors such as energy, transport, manufacturing, agri-food and the building sector.
As requested by the Council in the its conclusions on Digitalisation for the benefit of the environment adopted on 17.12.2020 the EGDC addresses Article 11.