The Digital4climate study concludes that by 2030, 15 technologies will have a positive impact on the carbon footprint of the digital sector.

Digital4Climate, Accenture’s Agoria study, focuses on the potential of digital technologies to reduce carbon emissions in the four most carbon-emitting sectors in Belgium: industry, construction, mobility and logistics, and energy. One conclusion is that the positive impact of 15 digital apps in these sectors will be five times the overall digital footprint by 2030.

CO2 emissions in Belgium in 2019 amounted to about 116.5 megatons, they can be reduced by 10.4-13.3 megatons in 2030 thanks to the introduction of digital solutions in the 4 most CO2-intensive sectors of Belgium, i.e. about 10% of Belgium’s total emissions today.

Under the European proposal Fit for 55, launched in July 2021, which raised the Green Deal for Europe’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target to 55% by 2030, compared to emissions in 1990, Belgium’s emissions should be reduced to 87 megatons of CO2 according to the first estimate. Digital technologies can account for about 30% of this goal.

This reduction potential has been calculated in relation to the total footprint of the digital sector, which is approximately 2% of Belgian emissions. Currently estimated at 2.8 megatons of CO2, but could be between 2.2 and 2.6 megatons due to improvements in the sector’s energy efficiency and a reduction in the CO2 intensity of the Belgian electricity grid. Telecommunications and data center operators have committed to using only renewable energy sources by 2030, reducing the area of ​​networks and data centers by another 48%.

4 sectors with the highest CO2 emissions

industry

Industry accounts for 29% of Belgium’s CO2 emissions (33.6 megatons), with chemicals, metals and cement contributing the most. On the other hand, it is the industry that has the most potential to reduce CO2 emissions, digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, digital twin and industrial Internet of things can reduce CO2 emissions by 3.4-4.2 megatons, or by about 10-12. 3% of industry emissions. total emissions.

Advanced data analytics and automation can significantly reduce energy consumption, while virtual product and process models, such as the digital twin, can simulate reality with high accuracy, increasing efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.

Construction

Construction is the construction industry sector with the highest impact, 8.3-10.8% of total building emissions can be reduced, mainly through Building Management System (BMS) for buildings and Building Information Modeling (BIM) in construction.

energy

The energy sector can achieve a 12-14.5% reduction in carbon emissions through digital technologies that catalyze the transition to green energy.

Mobility and logistics

In this sector, digital technologies can reduce total emissions by 10.6% and 14.2%. Expanding telecommuting, optimizing existing modes of transport with intelligent traffic management tools, and reducing freight traffic, such as through autonomous ships on waterways, are identified as key drivers of this reduction.

Digital4Climate: “Yes, we can”

Citizens, governments and businesses can play an important role in the deployment of digital climate technologies. Companies engaged in digital and environmental transition enjoy customer recognition and thus gain a competitive advantage. Everyone can draw inspiration from 15 case studies of digital solutions and 20 case studies from Belgian companies in various sectors.

The innovative Digital4Climate program, in which Agoria states that it is ready to cooperate, is necessary to raise awareness of citizens and businesses and encourage them to take a “yes we can” attitude. The public authorities must develop such a program before the end of the term of the current legislature in order to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and thus meet Belgium’s climate goal. On the other hand, it will also make data collaboration easier and train more people in digital and green skills.

The study considered 2 scenarios depending on the degree of implementation of the 15 proposed digital solutions and technologies by 2030. According to them, the reduction of CO2 emissions in these four sectors is 4.7-5.2 times greater than Belgium’s total digital footprint. They demonstrated that the more digitalization, the more it reduces CO2 emissions. Agoria firmly believes that digital technologies can help solve the climate problem. The digital transition and the green transition can reinforce each other, drive sustainable growth and contribute to Belgium’s economic and social prosperity.