Failure to link the digitalisation and environmental agendas is holding back adoption of smart low carbon solutions in key sectors of the UK economy, according to a report.
On 20 October, the Green Alliance published Smart and green: joining up digital and environmental priorities to drive the UK’s economy recovery, setting out how digital technology could transform the environmental agenda, accelerate the adoption of low carbon solutions and improve business use of both energy and resources. It noted, as an example, how using digital technology to enhance resource efficiency, building techniques and asset maintenance could add £38bn to the construction sectors’ bottom line by 2027.
Leveraging the power of digital to drive a green economy would also help businesses to modernise their operations and compete internationally, while helping the public to switch to lower carbon options through the use of smart mobility apps and shared mobility. Despite these benefits, the report found specific barriers, such as a lack of skills and capabilities in organisations or failings in data governance, along with wider policy shortfalls holding back development. Such shortfalls are indicative of a disjointed approach, it explained, and must be addressed for the UK to become a robust, low carbon economy.
It made a series of recommendations, such as ensuring digitalisation and low carbon agendas are joined up in UK recovery plans, with digitalisation policy explicitly supporting climate and nature goals, while environmental policy makes the most of digital solutions. It also called for investment in smart, net zero compatible infrastructure; for skills and capabilities to be strengthened; to bring people along in the transition to ensure they can see the benefits of data and technology; and to promote greener digital technology.