Our joint report with Policy Connect and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Manufacturing, Delivering net zero through digital, calls for greater visibility for both digital transformation and sustainability within UK manufacturing. Manufacturers looking to improve the efficiency and productivity of their operations can take important steps towards net zero by embracing and embedding digital technologies, at the same time.
Previously, digitalisation and sustainability within manufacturing have largely been spoken of, separately, in isolation of one another.
Of course, many of the major manufacturers embraced digital technologies within their factories many years ago, reaping the rewards of faster turnaround times, increased product quality and improved productivity, with sectors and supply chains such as aerospace and automotive, among the early adopters.
Post-COP26 and with new legislation on industrial decarbonisation and net zero in place, the sector is facing the perfect storm of increased international competition at a time when new investment, talent and leadership is needed to deliver urgent joint action on digital and sustainability now.
Read our report to find out more: Delivering net zero through digital
Or they could promote designing electronics that is actually off or at least drops to a low power state most of the time, instead of staying on 24/7 just in case someone needs the internet at 4AM.
The mania for digitising things and sending vast amounts of data because it seems to be almost free, or more accurately paid for by others is remarkably wasteful. Current estimates put about 10% of the UK electricity consumption into UK IT infrastructure of one form or another, and similar average figures for the whole planet, though there is a large variation in the estimates from different sources, some of whom think it will be more like 20% by 2025.
It is fun to look at numbers from sites like Website Carbon who run algorithms estimating the CO₂ a website produces per vist.
Web designers could be encouraged to embrace minimalism, helping to reduce the energy required to load images, video and even specialised fonts that all require extra, sizeable files. Of course, this would need rather more cunning and less brute force to retain the same level of internet experience.
This website https://engx.theiet.org/f/ being mostly text, does quite well at 0.7 grams of CO2 per visit.
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