Cyberspace and the Green Economy

The International
Institute for Sustainable Development urges Canada to secure
sustainable prosperity by using the Internet and other digital
technologies to help build a green economy and address the major
social and environmental challenges facing Canadians and others
around the world.

target=”_blank”>The Digital Economy and the Green Economy:
Opportunities for Strategic Synergies
-IISD’s submission to
Canada’s Digital Economy Consultation- sets out ways for
information communication technologies (ICTs) to really contribute
to sustainability objectives.

For example, ICTs can support the development of the green
economy through such things as improved energy efficiency and the
increased use of virtual products and service. Smart systems are
already transforming transportation infrastructure, buildings
maintenance and production, and can also be used to improve
monitoring of the environment and management of natural

Changes in the underlying global governance structures can also
assist sustainability goals through changes in consumer behaviour,
attitudes and values, as well as opportunities for economic and
social innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Just as sustainable development policy-makers have begun to
focus on the role of innovation, market mechanisms, and social
entrepreneurship in the achievement of environmental and other
objectives, the ICT sector and ICT policy-makers have begun to
recognize the opportunities emerging from the critical role ICTs
can play as a key enabling technology supporting green growth and
the development of the green economy,” the report says.

It suggests Canada take a leading role in the promotion of
“green ICTs” as the ICT sector needs to “clean up its own
act”. The ICT sector currently generates around 2-3 per cent
of global CO2 emissions - an amount larger than the
emissions of the airline industry and roughly equivalent to those
of Canada, according to the report. 

“Canada’s digital economy strategy should be framed in the
context of the major economic, social and environmental challenges
facing Canada and all other countries in a world where
opportunities for sustainable prosperity and threats to human
well-being are increasingly complex, interconnected, and global in

“To do this, we need to seize opportunities and overcome
barriers,” it says, adding that it will be necessary to develop an
action plan that maximizes the linkages between the digital economy
and the green economy.

The submission identifies opportunities for creating strategic
synergies between digital economy and green economy strategies

  • Green ICT products and services; smart energy grids,
    transportation infrastructures, buildings and production processes
    in all economic sectors;

  • Smart systems for monitoring the environment and managing
    natural resources; dematerialization of products and services in
    consumer and business marketplaces, and in government and public

  • Transformation of organizational structures and work practices
    throughout the economy and society; and transformation of values,
    attitudes and behaviour of individuals, as consumers and

The submission concludes that the digital economy consultation
gives the federal government an opportunity to establish Canadian
leadership in the development and implementation of sustainable
development policies by creating synergies between its digital
economy and green economy strategies.


The full report is available href=””


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