Policy paper – Digitalisation for Sustainability

CEO Alliance members have endorsed the policy paper ‘Digitalisation for Sustainability’, which puts forward three key recommendations for digitalisation to enable and boost sustainability.

The Alliance sees huge potential in digitalisation as an enabler and booster for sustainability, contributing to achieving the goals set out in the European Green Deal. The twin transition, green and digital, are too often treated separately and not enabling each other. In fact, the potential of existing digital solutions to reduce CO2 emissions is estimated to be 15-20% by 2030. In this context, the CEO Alliance supports the framework and objectives of the 2022 EU Action Plan on digitalising the energy sector, and is eagerly awaiting the European Commission’s upcoming Digital Networks Act, but more can and must done to maximise the untapped potential of digitalisation for sustainability.

We want a strong, innovative and competitive Europe. To achieve this, the legislative environment must be focused on incentivizing the opportunities we are facing, and not as today’s focus on regulating hypothetical risks. Through this, we can create progress and put Europe in the pole position.

With this paper, the CEO Alliance would like to offer our input, structured around three key areas, of how the potential of digitalisation for sustainability can be unlocked, bringing in concrete business examples from the wide range of economic sectors our members represent.

The policy paper puts forward three key recommendations for digitalisation to enable and boost sustainability:

  1. Support secure connectivity roll-out to enable flexibility and data flows – Reliable connectivity and seamless data flows are key to deploying digital solutions for sustainability, such as smart grids and connected devices, and unleash their potential for cutting emissions.
    The increasing portion of renewables in our energy systems require flexibility which can only be sustained through reliable and resilient connectivity, ensuring cybersecurity standards for critical infrastructure are met and data flows enabled. Increasing data flows require increased harmonization and common standards, conscious of commercial sensitivities. The upcoming European data space for energy should include a broad spectrum of industries, such as automotive, buildings, and ICT.
    Regulation must support the roll-out of connectivity infrastructure, simplifying and accelerating permitting procedures, and developing a long-term strategy for connectivity.
  2. Drive innovation and the scaling of cutting-edge technology, including AI – Digital solutions and innovation for sustainability is a rapidly evolving area. The transition to industry 4.0 is underway with the roll out of various solutions across sectors, such as streamlining automation processes for the management of energy, leveraging cloud technology, and using AI.
    The technology and know-how needed to develop and scale such solutions needs to be supported and encouraged by well-balanced and enabling regulation, by introducing regulatory sandboxes, providing self-assessment mechanisms, funding innovation and thereby supporting scalability.
  3. Incentivize investments in digital infrastructure and solutions supporting sustainability – Digital solutions can create major efficiency gains and boost sustainability efforts. However, investments in digital infrastructure and solutions for sustainability are not sufficiently supported, especially considering efforts by global partners and competitors in this area. This must change, not least through an update of the EU Taxonomy and facilitating market consolidations in Europe around future winners. Forward planning and anticipating investments must be enabled and incentivized, especially for energy companies and distribution grids, also by accelerating permitting procedures. By further including digital solutions in the taxonomy existing digital solutions can scale faster.

Download the paper below to read all the details of the policy paper.


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