Assessing the climate impact of digital solutions – EGDC Session at DwP Global Summit 2023

28 September 2023  |  14:00-15:00 WEST​ | Lisbon & Online 

On 28 September 2023, the European Green Digital Coalition (EGDC) hosted a conference session during the Digital with Purpose Global Summit 2023 in Lisbon. The summit, held from 27 to 29 September 2023, brought together digital leaders, policymakers, industry experts, and stakeholders worldwide to shape the future of sustainable digital transformation.


Session recording
Session summary  

The session dedicated to the EGDC showcased the Coalition’s unique industry-driven collaborative approach in harnessing the power of digital technologies to advance sustainable transformation across the economy and society.

The opening keynote speech by Pearse O’Donohue, Director of Future Networks at the European Commission’s DG CONNECT highlighted the European Union’s commitment to leading the green digital twin transition. Mr O’Donohue emphasized the need for robust and credible measurement of the net environmental impact of digital solutions and the establishment of the European Green Digital Coalition for this purposeHe urged further industry stakeholders to actively participate in these efforts and stressed that the responsibility for sustainable practices in the ICT sector extends beyond economic and environmental aspects, and must include other considerations, such as the impact on society and global implications.

The first panel focused on “Driving Sustainable Digital Transformation across key EU Sectors”Dr. Barbara BoncianiMunicipal Port Councillor of the City of Livorno, presented the Port of Livorno Case Study and how the use of 5G technology has facilitated the exchange of real-time information in port terminal processes, leading to a reduction in cargo handling movements, optimization of overall processes, and a decrease in fuel consumption. She presented further Livorno efforts in leveraging digitalisation to achieve sustainability goals and underscored the importance for cities to have access to EGDC assessment methodologies to be able to evaluate the environmental impact of their initiatives. 

Melanie Kubin-Hardewig, Vice President Group Corporate Responsibility at Deutsche Telekom further highlighted the need for establishment of standardized methodologies to “make sure everyone speaks the same language”, moving away from estimations and relying on reliable and comprehensive data. In this hindsight, Deutsche Telekom joined the EGDC to collectively work towards creating these methodologies and fostering a shared understanding and mindset among industry players.

Adam Elman, Head of Sustainability – EMEA at Google, added that the EGDC results will helensure the effective deployment of technologies crucial for achieving sustainability goals. He emphasized Google’s commitment to using its technological capabilities to promote sustainability both within its operations and in empowering individuals and other organizations to make sustainable choices.

The second part of the session brought together Veronika Thieme, Head of Delivery – Europe at the Carbon Trust and Massamba Thioye, Project Executive at the UNFCCC for a deep dive into the EGDC methodologies. Veronika Thieme presented the EGDC methodology’s concept of net impact assessment, which includes the evaluation of both positive and negative impacts of a digital solution, as well as direct and indirect effects over its lifetime. She stressed the importance of a holistic approach to analysing digital solutions, considering their context and long-term effects. The methodology emphasizes the use of primary data for assessing both positive and negative aspects, prioritizing actual impacts over theoretical considerations. While the focus is primarily on greenhouse gas emissions, the EGDC approach  also includes other environmental and social factors.

Massamba Thioye added on the challenges involved in developing such a methodology, which include the need for objectivity, simplicity, broad applicability, and environmental integrity. For a sustainable digital transformation to be successful, he advocated for a need-based approach which encourages disruptive innovation aligned with addressing specific human needs.

In the closing remarks, Déborah Goll from the European DIGITAL SME Alliance highlighted how making the EGDC journey as inclusive as possible would enable a broader range of businesses to contribute effectively to achieving the EU’s sustainability goals. She stressed the importance of simplifying the complex  methodology of the EGDC, breaking it down into manageable steps and metrics that are easily comprehensible and actionable for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 

The session’s moderator, Ilias Iakovidis, Adviser for digital aspects of green transformation at the European Commission closed the session by calling on companies to be proactive in adopting sustainable practices, as early movers stand to benefit the most. He emphasized the importance for them to start measuring measuring the impact of these sustainable practices to attract sustainable finance and green investments.


14:00 Welcome and introduction by the session moderator

Ilias Iakovidis, Adviser for digital aspects of green transformation, DG CONNECT, European Commission


14:05 Keynote by the European Commission: “Digital Decade: Unleashing the power of technology for a greener future”

Pearse O’Donohue, Director for the Future Networks Directorate of DG CONNECT, European Commission

14:15 Panel: Driving Sustainable Digital Transformation across key EU Sectors

Dr. Barbara Bonciani, Municipal Port Councillor, Livorno

Adam Elman, Head of Sustainability – EMEA, Google

Melanie Kubin-Hardewig, Vice President, Group
Corporate Responsibility, Deutsche Telekom 

14:40 Fireside chat on EGDC methodologies

Veronika Thieme, The Carbon Trust, Head of Delivery – Europe

Massamba Thioye, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

14:55  Concluding remarks

Déborah Goll, Senior Project Manager, European DIGITAL SME Alliance

Across the 3 days of the Digital with Purpose Summit, five EGDC Case Studies have been showcased by their respective providers, on the Innovation stage.