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WS 5: Digital for Sustainability – In Need of a Disruptive Research Agenda

Workshop Chairs: Soumaya El Kadiri (Texelia AG) and Joséphine von Mitschke-Collande (Innaxis Research Institute)
Date and time: Tuesday 24, 16h30 – 18h30
Room: 4

Description

Digital Transformation is the buzzword of the day. Since the 1980s an explosive growth happened in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and their presence became pervasive, bringing with them the perception of a tremendous acceleration in technological innovation. Also, expectations have been high on the role that ICT could play for sustainable development. Concepts such as disruption, dematerialization and zero marginal costs contribute to the (up to now) false belief that being digital will make us switch to low resource consumption. However, research shows that the ICT sector itself is not environmentally friendly: it is the fastest growing contributor to emissions, it consumes huge amounts of energy, water and critical resources, and produces equally huge amounts of harmful waste with very low levels of recycling.

And some of the economic and social effects of ICT have in fact created or reinforced trends which are part of our unsustainable ways, such as the relegitimation of war, the extreme financialization of economies or the concentration of wealth in fewer hands, not to talk about the foreseen massive elimination of jobs.

So, beyond a generic claim of ICT to contribute to a better and “green” world, the actual lack of mutual recognition and cooperation between digital tech and sustainable development points to the significant effort still to be made to harness the power of ICT for the progress of humanity. Digital technologies and sustainability have been rarely analyzed together in a rigorous manner. The scientific literature about this topic is up to now worryingly thin and in many aspects we do not even have yet the right questions, much less the responses.

The aim of this workshop is to ignite a community of interested parties working on an interdisciplinary research and action agenda to enable digital technologies to be aligned with the goals of sustainable development

Speakers

Ladeja Godina Kosir is recognised as the regional “engine of circular economy”. She is the initiator of Circular Change platform and a member of Coordination Group of the EU Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform. Trans-disciplinary approach and holistic view is what she is implementing as an entrepreneur, speaker, moderator, lecturer, mentor and passionate connector.

Carlos Alvarez Pereira is founder of the Innaxis Research Institute and head of consulting businesses in Spain, Switzerland and France. He promotes research on the paradigm shift towards holistic sustainability and the use of tech for humanity. His entrepreneurial experience spans 25 years in research and IT, starting as a lecturer in Applied Mathematics at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. He is Full Member of the Club of Rome and has served as Vice-President of the Spanish Fulbright Alumni Association.