IGF 2023 Town Hall #69 Digital Environmental Sustainablity through Circular Economy

Round Table - 90 Min

Description

With the increasing demand for new and newest digital devices, more driven by Covid pandemic, the impact of this linear model is becoming increasingly pronounced in Global South and in countries like India in South Asia. One issue is the use-and-throw culture without considering the environmental impact of their actions. Secondly, with increasing digital linear consumption, the extraction of minerals and other resources is putting significant pressure on the planet's resources, including rare earth metals and other critical minerals. Furthermore, digital devices are energy-intensive to produce and significantly contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
Thus, there is growing need and priority to transition to a more circular economy model for digital devices that involves reducing waste, reusing and repairing devices, and recycling materials to create new products. This involves implementing use-repair and reuse culture, and developing and promoting desired social and behavioral change. Digital citizenship and digital identities come with a responsibility in the consumers with interest and willingness to adopt repair and reuse practices having unmapped social, economic and environmental benefits.
This also calls for sustainable human and environmental rights-centered design solutions which involves designing products these rights in mind, such as fair labor practices, and using materials that are environmentally sustainable, and designing products that are easier to repair and reuse.
By promoting a circular economy in digital devices, positive impact downstream and upstream can be achieved. A natural shift to a circular model entails repair and refurbished economy with jobs and entrepreneurship, serve as source of secondary raw materials from the ‘urban mines’ from the mounts of e-wastes. Thus, this transition calls for willing collaboration and innovation from manufacturers, consumers, policymakers, and other stakeholders.
Early experiences and learnings from countries like India and evolving project models like ‘Digital Green Prakriya’ (Processing) could be positive signs of taking the circular economy to the community with a potential to generate a reverse circular movement bottom up and paving a democratic digital environment sustainability push upwards for policy and programme transitions at government and industry levels.

1) How will you facilitate interaction between onsite and online speakers and attendees?
There will be max 6 speakers, onsite and online, and total 60 minutes will spared for the speakers and discussions around them. While the speakers are engaged, the format shall be engage onsite and online speakers in a mixed manner to maintain the inclusive participation process. 15-20 minutes will be reserved for the attendees onsite and online for sharing their perspectives in the form of Q&A and comments.

2) How will you design the session to ensure the best possible experience for online and onsite participants?
The session will be a round table and speakers will be given sub-themes and topics with key indicative questions in advance to prepare and share on the session day. This will help to get concrete responses that are relevant to the discussion. It is planned to put 3 questions for each speaker in the session in 3 rounds of discussion.

3) Please note any complementary online tools/platforms you plan to use to increase participation and interaction during the session.
We intend to use ZOOM platform and use the chat features extensively to share comments, inputs, questions. We are also exploring other platforms that may be more feasible for the participants.

Organizers

Council for Social and Digital Development
• Dr Syed S Kazi, Council for Social and Digital Development (CSDD), India - Moderator
• Mr. Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation, India
• Ms Shawna Finnegan, Association for Progressive Communication (APC)
• Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Executive Director, VOICES FOR INTERACTIVE CHOICE & EMPOWERMENT (VOICE), Bangladesh
• Mr. Tanka Aryal, General Secretary, Digital Rights Nepal
• K Gunasekhara, Foundation of Goodness, Sri Lanka
• K Tenzin, Royal Society for Protection of Nature, Bhutan
• Sanjeev Sarma · Founder Director & CEO, Webx Technologies
• Jenny Sulfath, Digital Empowerment Foundation, - Rapporteur

Speakers

• Dr Syed S Kazi, Council for Social and Digital Development (CSDD), India - Moderator
• Mr. Osama Manzar, Digital Empowerment Foundation, India
• Ms Shawna Finnegan, Association for Progressive Communication (APC)
• Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Executive Director, VOICES FOR INTERACTIVE CHOICE & EMPOWERMENT (VOICE), Bangladesh
• Mr. Tanka Aryal, General Secretary, Digital Rights Nepal
• K Gunasekhara, Foundation of Goodness, Sri Lanka
• K Tenzin, Royal Society for Protection of Nature, Bhutan
• Sanjeev Sarma · Founder Director & CEO, Webx Technologies
• Jenny Sulfath, Digital Empowerment Foundation, - Rapporteur

Onsite Moderator

Dr Syed S Kazi, Council for Social and Digital Development (CSDD)

Online Moderator

Sanjeev Sarma · Founder Director & CEO, Webx Technologies

Rapporteur

Jenny Sulfath, Digital Empowerment Foundation

SDGs

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Production and Consumption
13. Climate Action
14. Life Below Water
15. Life on Land
17. Partnerships for the Goals


Targets: Digital environmental sustainability through the circular economy is closely connected to several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The circular economy is an economic model that aims to minimize resource consumption, waste generation, and environmental impact by promoting the reuse, recycling, and regeneration of materials and products. By leveraging digital technologies, such as data analytics, internet of things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI), the circular economy can be enhanced and its impact on achieving the SDGs can be amplified. Below are some specific connections between digital environmental sustainability through the circular economy and the UN SDGs:

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: The circular economy relies on innovative technologies and infrastructure to enable the efficient and effective circulation of resources. Digital technologies play a crucial role in optimizing resource management, tracking material flows, and developing smart systems that support the circular economy.

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities: The circular economy contributes to creating more sustainable cities by promoting resource efficiency, reducing waste generation, and enhancing the reuse and recycling of materials. Digital solutions, such as smart waste management systems and sharing platforms, can facilitate the implementation of circular practices in urban areas.

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production: The circular economy aligns with SDG 12 by advocating for sustainable production and consumption patterns. Digital technologies enable improved product design, traceability, and reverse logistics, making it easier to implement circular business models that prioritize product reuse, repair, and recycling.

SDG 13: Climate Action: The circular economy helps mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with resource extraction, manufacturing, and waste disposal. Digital tools, such as data analytics and AI, can optimize energy consumption, supply chain efficiency, and waste management, further minimizing the carbon footprint of economic activities.

SDG 14: Life Below Water and SDG 15: Life on Land: The circular economy contributes to protecting marine and terrestrial ecosystems by reducing pollution, promoting sustainable resource use, and minimizing habitat destruction. Digital technologies can support better monitoring of environmental impacts, facilitate sustainable sourcing practices, and enable the tracking of recycled materials to prevent illegal activities.

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals: Achieving the SDGs requires collaboration and partnerships among various stakeholders, including governments, businesses, and civil society. Digital environmental sustainability through the circular economy fosters such partnerships by bringing together diverse actors to develop innovative solutions, share knowledge, and scale up sustainable practices.