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. 

“I sat in on our Chief Digital Officer giving a presentation on the new digital strategy, and net zero doesn’t feature at all. It doesn’t feature in terms of any of the organising drivers or levers”  

Digital and technology lead

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.  

“Because we are focused on COVID-19, a lot of things that we would have done previously, like sustainability, have fallen to the back of the queue” 

Digital and technology lead in central administration

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 

Potential solutions 

Best practitioners in applying digital to net zero aims have adopted the following attitudes to prioritising carbon reduction: 

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: 

Next: Help people follow net zero good practice