Tech Net Zero discovery report – recommendation 2
Recommendation 2 – Make net zero a priority within digital
What’s the problem?
Our research showed there’s a disconnect between the climate emergency and digital priorities within the public sector. Sustainability is rarely a driving force for digital teams.
People working in the public sector in Wales need to see sustainability prioritised from the top, where it will filter down to digital team objectives.
COVID-19 has accelerated service transformation in some areas but has also meant that work focussing on long-term strategic goals has not been a priority.
Decisions need to include factors such as cost and quality. It’s difficult for leaders and teams to understand how to prioritise sustainability against these factors and make a business case for supporting sustainability through digital.
We’ve also seen no system for holding organisations and teams accountable for meeting their net zero targets, aside from the deadline of 2030 or 2050.
Read more in our research findings about this problem:
It’s not being made a priority (unless you’re the sustainability lead responsible for carbon reporting)
Lack of funding, time and resource
Being early on in their digital transformation journey
Best practitioners in applying digital to net zero aims have adopted the following attitudes to prioritising carbon reduction:
- net zero and carbon footprint reduction are a business continuity risk
- addressing net zero requirements later will be a lot more expensive
- every service needs to measure and account for carbon emission
The Welsh Government has set out its position on climate change targets and carbon budgets, most recently in the Net Zero Wales Carbon Budget 2 (2021 to 2025). Carbon Budget 3 (2026-2030) has already been outlined.
Stressing the need to think about carbon footprint alongside other planning and operational goals will help embed net zero in organisational culture.
Possible approaches to solving this problem include:
- making net zero a part of every project
- highlighting existing climate policy and commitments
- setting short-term climate targets
- emphasising how digital can help towards net zero organisation-wide