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Digitisation and sustainability at EU level Opportunities and risks of digitisation for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at EU level

Digitalisation is profoundly changing our society and economy, but its socio-ecological effects are double-edged. The Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) has clearly identified this ambivalence of digitalisation in its environmental digital agenda and drawn political conclusions from it. The agenda shows ways in which efficiency increases and the "digital dividend" can be used for various sustainability changes, for example in the circular economy and agriculture. In addition, it aims to help ensure that digitalisation does not exacerbate social and ecological crises. For example, it targets an eco-design guideline for the realisation of environmentally sound digitisation. With the agenda, the BMU underlines the urgency of shaping the digitalisation in a sustainable way.

The research project aims to strengthen the German government's work on a sustainable orientation of digitalisation at the level of the European Union beyond the course set by the German EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020. To this end, the IÖW will first identify those fields of action in the area of digitisation and sustainability from documents of the German EU Council Presidency that are particularly problematic at the EU level and should be prioritised in the future. Based on this, the IÖW project team, together with the Institute for Environmental Policy, identifies two fields of action for which recommendations for the further development of the political framework conditions are then drawn up in in-depth studies. In order to establish the topic of sustainable digitalisation in European decision-making bodies in the long term and to integrate aspects of social and ecological justice in the process, the inclusion and interconnectedness of civil society actors is to be strengthened. Therefore, various participation formats as well as the establishment of an online forum are important elements of the project, which will be implemented by the Institute for European Environmental Policy.