IGF 2020 WS #72 Tech for the Planet

Time
Wednesday, 11th November, 2020 (16:50 UTC) - Wednesday, 11th November, 2020 (18:20 UTC)
Room
Room 1
About this Session
There are many exciting examples of how technology can help society address envirnomental challenges. There also are ways the technology sector can reduce its impact on the environment as well as help other sectors of the economy to do the same. This workshop would explore some of these approaches and consider policies to maximize the ability to leverage technology to help solve the planet’s environmental problems.
Thematic Track

Organizer 1: B Wanner, U.S. Council for International Business
Organizer 2: Livia Walpen, Federal Office of Communications, Switzerland

Speaker 1: Chris Wilson, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Alexandre Caldas, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 3: Nick Wise, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Reyna Ubeda, Intergovernmental Organization, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Additional Speakers

Jorge Cancio, Government of Switzerland and co-organizer, will serve as Moderator.

Speaker additions add gender and sectoral diversity to the discussion and enables discussion of the privacy implications of using technology for environmental innovations. The second speaker offers direct expertise in developing a tech company's response to climate change. Third speaker replaces the ITU speaker who could not participate due to illness.

Caroline Louveaux, EVP/Chief Privacy Officer, Mastercard

Matt Peterson, Director of Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund (replacing Chris Wilson)

Paolo Gemma, senior Specialist and representative of Huawei on issues related to energy saving and environmental sustainability, will replace Reyna Ubeda (ITU). He currently acts as Co-Chairman of the Focus Group on Environmental Efficiency of AI and other Emerging Technologies (FG-AI4EE) and Vice-chairman of the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative.

Moderator

Livia Walpen, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

B Wanner, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Rapporteur

Livia Walpen, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Format

Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. How can existing and emerging digital technologies contribute to addressing climate change and how can they foster change in various sectors of the economy (manufacturing, trade, agrifood, etc.)? What initiatives exist and what can be done to improve them? 2. What role can data and AI play in tackling sustainability issues such as climate change, biodiversity, conservation and water scarcity? 3. How could policy-making benefit from the analysis of big data to better understand impacts of policy decisions on sustainability?

• Re-focusing technologies that have enabled and sustained digital transformation to mitigate damage to the environment. • Using technologies to lead in the reduction of the carbon footprints of business, government, and consumers.

SDGs

GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 13: Climate Action
GOAL 14: Life below Water
GOAL 15: Life on Land
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Description:

What should governments, international organizations and stakeholders be doing so that technological innovation can be harnessed to tackle environmental sustainability? The serious problems facing our environment – such as climate change, biodiversity and water scarcity – are widely known and recognized in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. There are many exciting examples of how technology can help society address these challenges, and there are also ways that the technology sector can reduce its impact on the environment as well as help other sectors of the economy to do the same. This workshop would explore some of these approaches and try to understand actions and policy decisions that could be taken to maximize the ability to leverage technology to help solve the planet’s environmental problems. Proposed Agenda: • The Potential of Technology Solutions to Environmental Problems • Case Studies and Examples, e.g. business commitments, solutions deployed in the field by companies and NGOs, and public-private partnerships • Discussion on a Multistakeholder Approach to Saving the Planet, and the respective roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders

Expected Outcomes

The workshop will provide examples of how business, government, and civil society, either on their own or collaboratively, have developed solutions that address several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It will also seek to identify best practice policy approaches or other factors that can enable the broader deployment of these solutions.

a) The pre-IGF preparatory process will entail reaching out to and confirming the participation of remote discussants, particularly from emerging economies, who the Moderator will invite to offer comments or pose questions via the Remote Moderator following each agenda topic. In addition, the co-organizers will explore with Roundtable participants the potential for establishing remote participation hubs, particularly in emerging economies, delving into technical capabilities and needs that could be addressed by the business community. For the workshop itself, online participants will have a separate queue managed by the Online Moderator. Questions and comments will be rotated between the online queue and the in-person queue at the microphone. The Moderator will work closely with the Online Moderator during the pre-IGF preparations to establish effective means of communication between them to ensure the timely insertion of a remote question/comment. The Online Moderator will be strongly encouraged to participate in pre-IGF training provided by the IGF Secretariat as well as the preparatory teleconferences, the latter to thoroughly familiarize herself with the workshop substance. The Online Moderator also will be "backed up" by the workshop organizer, so that any unexpected technical problems or communication issues with the Moderator can be addressed expeditiously. The pre-IGF preparatory process also will entail (1) confirming on-site discussants, who will attend the workshop and be prepared to ask a relevant question as a means of "breaking the ice" and encouraging other audience questions; and (2) reaching out to and confirming the participation of online discussants, particularly from emerging economies, who the Moderator will invite to offer comments or pose questions via the Online Moderator.

Relevance to Internet Governance: In accordance with the Tunis Agenda, this workshop will directly highlight how ICTs can lead the world in achieving certain SDGs, in particular SDG 13, through information sharing and exploration of public-private partnerships.

Relevance to Theme: This workshop topic will produce a body of substantive information, business use cases, and policy recommendations directly relevant to the environment theme.

Online Participation

 

Usage of IGF Official Tool.

 

Agenda
  • The Potential of Technology Solutions to Environmental Problems
  • Case Studies and Examples, e.g. business commitments, solutions deployed in the field by companies and NGOs, and public-private partnerships
  • Discussion on a Multistakeholder Approach to Saving the Planet, and the respective roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders
1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
1. How can existing and emerging digital technologies contribute to addressing climate change and how can they foster change in various sectors of the economy (manufacturing, trade, agrifood, etc.)? What initiatives exist and what can be done to improve them?
2. What role can data and AI play in tackling sustainability issues such as climate change, biodiversity, conservation and water scarcity?
3. How could policy-making benefit from the analysis of big data to better understand impacts of policy decisions on sustainability?
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

Discussion about a multistakeholder approach to saving the planet

The speakers discussed how multistakeholder collaboration could help in developing meaningful solutions to address environmental challenges. It was agreed that both governmental and corporate standards are needed and can complement each other. Matt Peterson explained that Amazon is trying to pioneer corporate standards by bringing together different corporations to commit to the same goals.

With regard to the work of Oceanmind, Nick Wise stated that multistakeholder collaboration is needed to protect the ocean. Governments play an important role as they set and agree on regulations and international treaties and are responsible for enforcing shipping rules. Local NGOs are essential for engaging governments and in understanding the local culture and concerns and complexities. All parties are needed to come together to achieve impact.

The moderator Jorge Cancio (Swiss Government) closed with stating that multistakeholder collaboration is a minimum requirement to address environmental issues. Furthermore, the intersessional work within the IGF on environment and digitalisation should and will further evolve.

3. Key Takeaways

To make progress on environmental issues, we need data. New technologies – including satellites, drones, IoT powered sensors etc. – have vastly accelerated data collection.

Currently, we see an overabundance – and not a lack – of date. There is a need for platforms and AI to house, understand, analyse and aggregate this data. Moreover, Interoperability of data is important. 

There are many great examples by companies and NGOs on how to use technology to help addressing the planet’s environmental challenges (among others Amazon’s “Climate Pledge Fund”, Mastercard’s “Priceless Planet Coalition” and the work of Oceanmind).

Standards are important to tackle climate change and e-waste.

The digital divide poses a challenge: People need to be connected, but in a sustainable way.

6. Final Speakers
  • Matt Peterson, Director of Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund;
  • Caroline Louveaux, Executive Vice President of Privacy at Mastercard;
  • Nick Wise, Nick Wise is founder and CEO of OceanMind; and
  • Paolo Gemma, senior Specialist and representative of Huawei 
7. Reflection to Gender Issues

At least half of the workshop participants were women, who actively contributed to the Chat. The panel itself  was balanced to include a woman speaker (Caroline Louveaux, Mastercard), woman online moderator (Barbara Wanner, U.S. Council for International Business), and woman substantive rapportuer (Livia Walpen, Govt of Switzerland). 

The session did not directly address issues related to gender equality and/or women’s empowerment.

8. Session Outputs

To make progress on environmental issues, we need data. New technologies – including satellites, drones, IoT powered sensors etc. – have vastly accelerated data collection.

Currently, we see an overabundance – and not a lack – of date. There is a need for platforms and AI to house, understand, analyse and aggregate this data. Moreover, Interoperability of data is important. 

There are many great examples by companies and NGOs on how to use technology to help addressing the planet’s environmental challenges (among others Amazon’s “Climate Pledge Fund”, Mastercard’s “Priceless Planet Coalition” and the work of Oceanmind).

Standards are important to tackle climate change and e-waste.

The digital divide poses a challenge: People need to be connected, but in a sustainable way.

10. Voluntary Commitment

Overall, speakers pledged to take forward to IGF goals and objective by providing inputs to the online submission portal. In addition:

Paola Gemma (Huawei) pledged to continue working in the ITU-T Study Group 5 (focuse on the environment) to " write something to help the young generation to have a better world.  Sometimes we cannot change the past but we can build the future."

Caroline Louveaux (Mastercard) pledge to continue  is to promote trust, security and human rights in the digital era, including for the global collaboration that is needed, we have been discussing today, in the context of artificial intelligence, data and technology. This foundation of trust will enable the use of technologies to address environmental challenges.

Nick Wise (Oceanmind) pledged to remain ommitted to improving the health of the ocean using technology.

Matt Peterson (Amazon) noted the IGF's important work and expressed a  commitment to continue to provide updates to the IGF community of what Climate Pledge Fund's supported companies are building to improve the environment.