Digitisation offers great opportunities to fight climate change and to drive sustainability transformations across society. This comprises the integrating renewable energy into our energy systems, enhancing environmentally friendly mobility services and establishing a resource-efficient circular economy. A new study by the Wuppertal Institute analyses which requirements and infrastructures are necessary for such data-based sustainability transformations. The researchers focus on environmental data and data from production assets, machines, and infrastructures as well as from connected devices on the Internet of Things (IoT).
"Sustainability requires holistic solutions in which different stakeholders work together in initiating the transformation of infrastructures, value chains, and business models. Data sharing will be key to the success of these system innovations," stresses Dr. Stephan Ramesohl, Co-Head of the Digital Transformation Research Unit at the Wuppertal Institute, about the challenges for the upcoming years. His co-author, János Sebestyén, Researcher of the same Research Unit adds: "For data sharing to expand its potential for a sustainability transformation, we need data ecosystems which fulfill new technical, organisational, and institutional prerequisites."
The study examines new approaches and success criteria on how to share data and jointly use them. The developed standards for structure and descriptions of data sets facilitate the merging of different data sources, while the development of trustworthy data ecosystems enables the self-determined and secure exchange of information between all stakeholders. The analysis shows that the technical foundations for building and using data ecosystems are available already today. To align pilot projects more than before with ecological criteria policymakers must make consistent use of the promising window of opportunity that will present itself in the coming years and establish sustainability-oriented data ecosystems.
The study "Data ecosystems for the sustainability transformation" was developed within the project "Shaping the Digital Transformation – Digital solution Systems for the Sustainability Transition" (ShapingDIT) on behalf of Huawei Technologies Deutschland GmbH and can be found in the following link.