School of Business and Economics

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17 Oct 2022

Digital decarbonisation: What is it and why does it matter?

Loughborough University researchers have urged organisations to tackle digital decarbonisation if the UK is to stand any chance of hitting its 2050 net-zero targets.  

The data industry is predicted to account for more carbon emissions than the automotive, aviation and energy sectors combined, yet recent government policy has ignored the impact of digital decarbonisation and focuses on tackling traditional carbon emissions instead.

In this new paper, Keeping a lower profile: how firms can reduce their digital carbon footprints, published by the Journal of Business Strategy, Professors Tom Jackson and Ian Hodgkinson propose the ‘Six Ws’ – six questions for organisations to consider when managing their knowledge assets, helping them to understand their own impact on digital decarbonisation.

  • Where is digital data being stored?
  • Why is new data and information needed?
  • Which information governance structures enable new knowledge to be codified?
  • Who is responsible for sharing new data and information with others?
  • What are the opportunities for data and knowledge reuse?
  • When is digital data evaluated and digital waste disposed of?

Professors Tom Jackson and Ian Hodgkinson as well as coinvestigators Dr Ed Barbour and Professor Lisa Jackson have also been awarded funding by the UKRI National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research Hub, supporting a feasibility study on the creation of a ‘metal decarbonisation dashboard’. This could offer organisations a method of evaluating their metal digital carbon footprint over the lifecycle of any metal components they use and deliver system level change to their data collection.

Read the full Loughborough University article here.