The ecological transition, a necessary goal to be accomplished, is proving difficult to achieve. Digitalization, on the other hand, is one of the great transformative forces of our society, but doesn’t have a collectively defined goal. How then, can this potential for transformation be used to drive the ecological transition today? What courses of action can be put forth to public stakeholders with the view to leveraging digitalization for the ecological transition?
As early as 2015, IDDRI noted that this major issue was still nowhere on the polit- ical agenda. The two communities, which represent two approaches to the future and two visions for public policy, did not interact with each other at all.
IDDRI therefore took the lead in exploring the points and conditions of convergence between these two transitions. Research on several activities and services emerg- ing in the new digital economy was conducted: the collaborative economy, crowdfunding, new mobility services, the smart city etc. Through these projects and in association with FING (The Next Generation Internet Foundation), IDDRI
brought together about thirty partners– academic institutions (ex: ESCP, Paris Dauphine University), digital players (ex: OuiShare, Uber), private companies (ex: MAIF, Vinci), local authorities (ex: Île- de-France Region, City of Paris), public actors (ex: ADEME, PUCA)–which laid the groundwork for an ecosystem that could advance the convergence of both transitions.
Ultimately, this research helped identify general lines of action, enabling us to put forth recommendations to public authorities. To this end, IDDRI worked in partnership with FING, WWF, GreenIT.fr and the French Digital Council to over- see a joint publication. This resulted in a White Paper on “Digital Technology and the Environment”, synthesizing a set of analyses and 26 concrete proposals for public authorities.
In March 2018, this White Paper was presented to Brune Poirson, French Secretary of State to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, and Mounir Mahjoubi, French Secretary of State to the Prime Minister in charge of Digital Affairs.
The Secretaries of State welcomed the initiative, which will help them strengthen their internal work already begun on the two issues. On this occasion, they also committed to including some of our document’s proposals (circular economy roadmap, implementation decrees of the French Digital Republic Law, France’s working programme for digitalization) in the upcoming policy decisions of their respective ministries.
This work heralds the opening of a pathway towards the convergence of the digital and ecological transitions in the policy agenda. The presentation of this White Paper is only the beginning of a series of initiatives planned in 2018 aimed at keeping up the momentum.