Tech Net Zero discovery report – recommendation 3


Recommendation 3 – Help people follow net zero good practice 

What’s the problem? 

Where there are sustainability professionals within public sector organisations, they’re not joined up to influence and support the work of digital teams. The sustainability professionals we spoke to often have a good idea of how digital supports net zero but less ability to see this through to delivery. However, some organisations seem to lack sustainability expertise altogether. 

Digital professionals also need skills and knowledge to build sustainability practices into their work. People need to know what to do, where to start and how to do it. Some of the skills and knowledge will align with general digital and design good practice, but some things will be unique to sustainability and lowering emissions. 

“You know when you learn something and you’re like, ‘That’s how things should go,’ and then you get into the world of work and you’re like, ‘Well, that’s not how things actually are!’”  

Digital and technology practitioner at a local authority

Read more in our research findings about this problem: 

Lack of sustainability capability in digital teams 

Being early on in their digital transformation journey 

Potential solutions 

We discovered a rich ecosystem of tech net zero practitioners in both public and private sectors in the UK and beyond. The most prominent group in the UK, and most relevant to the Welsh public sector, is the UK government Sustainable Technology Advice and Reporting (STAR) team led by Defra

A lot of information is already available about how digital applies to carbon reduction. In 2021, the UK government Central Digital and Data Office added point 12, Make your technology sustainable, to the Technology Code of Practice to coincide with the COP26 conference hosted in the UK. Defra also published the Greening government: ICT and digital services strategy 2020-2025, which sets out policy and practice in detail. 

Improving digital skills and knowledge across the Welsh public sector would make digital good practice more common. In turn, this would bring digital advantages to net zero. 

Possible approaches to solving this problem include: 

Next: Measure the carbon footprint of a digital service