Digital Sustainability Alliance

 

Information, Innovation and Action

The Digital Sustainability Alliance is the leading voice for innovative, sustainable technology practices and solutions that address the environmental impact of storing and computing digital data.

Computing and digital activities are impacting the environment, but to what extent?

Digital data and computation are exploding at an unsustainable rate – both logistically and environmentally. The carbon emissions associated with computing today are already more than that of the global airline industry.  The rapid growth of computing and data storage, if not tempered by more sustainable practices and greener technology, could easily outstrip carbon intensive industries such as cement and transportation.

AI and Other New Technologies Will Require More and More Energy

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that data centers, cloud computing and transmission activity use up to 3% of global electricity consumption. By 2030, the most optimistic estimates say electricity use for global computing could double, and the most pessimistic say it could increase 10-fold. We live in a world in which almost a billion people don’t have access to electricity and with electricity generation comprising 25% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Data is on the Rise – We are Talking Zettabytes!

The size, complexity, and exponential growth of digital data are some of the key factors driving energy use. In 2021, International Data Corporation (IDC) estimated the world had roughly 80 zettabytes of digital data–much of it redundant, superfluous copies of the same data–and could quadruple by 2025. That growth rate, with no end in sight, is not sustainable logistically nor environmentally with legacy practices of storing and computing digital data. 

Simply building more data centers to keep up with demand is not the answer. Indeed, it’s a major contributing factor to the problem. Creating each new data center triggers an increase in mining of precious minerals (done, in part, by forced and/or child labor) and the manufacturing and transportation of new hardware, significantly adding to the impact of data storage on the environment. 

In a world that benefits tremendously from leveraging digital data—improved healthcare, velocity in scientific discovery, efficiencies in automation, public safety, greater knowledge transfer, AI, etc.—the aim is not to curb these data-driven advancements.  Rather, the solution is to foster game-changing innovation and to become better stewards of the precious, finite resources we have.

The greenest data center is the one that doesn’t have to be built.

Can You Actually Make a Difference?

The answer is yes – and we are here to help. We understand that digital sustainability can be a challenging and rapidly changing space. That’s why we formed the Digital Sustainability Alliance—a group of industry experts coming together to help you stay up to date with the latest information and innovative solutions to meet your digital sustainability goals. This allows you to embrace new technologies and still make the world a cleaner place.

Sign up for our free newsletter and receive the latest updates, case studies, and measurable research regarding digital sustainability.

Happening Now

LOS ANGELES TIMES

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Column: This ‘Fortnite’ island is the latest climate change battleground Let’s start with a climate allegory. I’ll call it the Parable of the Three Environmentalists. The first runs a sustainability nonprofit led by Hollywood power players, some of whom care deeply...

Broadcast Unscripted – Podcast

Broadcast Unscripted – Podcast

AI Risk Versus Reward Featuring Tom Dunning, CEO of Ad Signal and Co-Founder of the Digital Sustainability Alliance. Broadcast Unscripted is your go-to podcast for in-depth coverage of the hottest trends and critical insights in the broadcast and media industry. Led...

Upcoming Events

25

JUN

Media Tech Sustainability Conference,
June 25-26, 2024 | Online Event

Founding members of the Digital Sustainability Alliance Ben Golub, Tom Dunning and Kent Blosil will be presenting at the upcoming MTSS online event.

The Media Tech Sustainability Summit will cover a variety of aspects of sustainability in media. Starting with an introduction of Sustainability in general, MTSS will then move into what the broadcast, media & entertainment industry is doing today, and what more can be done. It is an opportunity to provide a baseline understanding of this complex topic while discussing best practices and suggesting ideas on how to tackle the key issues holding us back from creating a sustainable future. After a successful inaugural event in 2023, this year’s summit is scheduled for 25-26 June and will take place entirely virtually. The event will run across a full day meaning we can cater for different time zones.