Sustainability Summit


Sustainability Summit

Sustain, Cities, Create, Learn,

This summit is curated in collaboration with The Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, as part of Techfestival: a 3-day festival in Copenhagen with 200+ events on humans and technology.
Interested? Great! Please apply to join. Note that this summit has limited seats.

Delving into responsibility in the tech industry.

This summit focuses on environmental and social aspects of production and use of ICT. The summit aims at:

A) developing more sobering knowledge about the actual environmental impacts and benefits from ICT.

B) developing ideas about how actors can push for reduced environmental impacts and more social and environmental benefits from a more sobering use of ICT.

In contrast to the idea of ICT being environmentally friendly, “weightless” and virtual, the increasing amounts of electronic products, miniaturisation of products, pervasive computing and a more dispersed use of sensors and other devices have increased the amount of electronic waste, the consumption of scarce materials, and the energy consumption for production and use of devices, data centres and grids. At the same time, the social and environmental benefits from the use of ICT for more transparency of the resource flows and better resource management might be smaller than often claimed.

In relation to the environmental impacts of ICT, a circular economy is often presented as a way to avoid waste and reduce material consumption by turning the society into a circular system with inspiration from natural ecosystems. However, the recycling of electronic waste is often very inefficient and takes sometimes place under devastating social and environmental conditions. Therefore, the electronics industry needs to focus more on circular economy strategies that develop devices with a longer lifetime, based on better quality and better repairability and upgradability. The summit will discuss how such strategies can be developed in the interaction between governments, civil society, businesses and research institutions.

In relation to environmental benefits from the use of ICT, we need more and better knowledge about actual benefits from the actual use of ICT. This includes a better understanding of the co-shaping of the societal problems addressed with ICT and the solutions ICT provides, as well as the interactions between human actors, ICT and the socio-material context. Data collection about energy consumption, mobility patterns or air pollution does not imply that such data are turned into knowledge- nor which actors are able to apply to for gaining influence on environmental problems like air pollution or energy consumption.

Another aspect of data collection concerns aspects of ownership, transparency, access and privacy. Energy companies a.o. might want to control and sell citizens’ data about their consumption patterns, while citizen scientists and NGOs want to make their data available in order to push public authorities, businesses and citizens to take action. In this summit, we will discuss how strategies for more sobering, democratic and effective use of ICT for environmental purposes can be developed via the interaction between governments, civil society, businesses and research institutions.

Key questions to explore:

  • How can the negative environmental impacts of the production of ICT be reduced through circular economy strategies focusing on prolonged lifetime, better repairability and upgradability, etc. of ICT?
  • How can a more sobering and democratic use of ICT that has social and economic benefits be developed? How can such use of ICT reduce the environmental impacts from production and consumption of  ICT?
  • How can a more sobering and democratic use of ICT for environmental purposes be developed? How can such use of ICT reduce environmental problems and develop a more democratic environmental governance?


Strategies for A) a more environmentally sustainable production of ICT based on circular economy strategies, and B) a more sobering and democratic use of ICT, which B1) helps reduce environmental impacts from ICT and B2) helps reduce resource consumption and environmental impacts in society and B3) increase democratic control of resource flows and environmental data

Agenda for the day:

  • Opening of the Sustainability Summit
    w/ Anders Hoffmann and Michael Søgaard Jørgensen
  • Circular economy and ICT
    w/ Louise Koch and Hugues Ferreboeuf
  • Coffee break
  • Sober and democratic use of ICT
    w/ Ulrik Jørgensen and Hugues Ferreboeuf
  • Lunch break
  • Reduction of environmental problems with ICT – aspects of innovation and governance
    w/ Michael Søgaard Jørgensen and Ulrik Jørgensen
  • Coffee break
  • Parallel group discussions with development of strategies
  • Reporting back from group discussions to plenary
  • What could be some next steps? Closing of the Sustainability Summit

Apply here.

Who are your hosts?

Michael Søgaard Jørgensen (DK)

Michael is an Associate Professor in sustainable innovation and transition. He holds an M.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering and a PhD in Technology Assessment. Michael has carried out green technology foresight of ICT and has also done published work about action research, social innovation and environmental management in value chains. Michael has 25 years of experience with coordination of a university-based science shop for civil society’s access to cooperation with the university. Co-managing working group within European Citizen Science Association about empowerment, inclusiveness and equity of citizen science. He is the current Chairman of Society of Green Technology within the Danish Society of Engineers and a blogger on the side.

Ulrik Jørgensen (DK)

Ulrik has an M.Sc. degree in Electronics Engineering and a PhD in Innovation Economics. Ulrik has published work about technology and innovation studies, environmental management, sustainability transitions, and governance inspired by the interdisciplinary approaches in STS – Science and Technology Studies. He has been involved in several EU funded projects on waste policy, foresight, and interactive policy measures. Currently, Ulrik is working on the co-creation of local energy transition strategies. He is the Chairman of Society of Technology Assessment within the  Danish Society of Engineers.

This Techfestival summit is curated in collaboration with the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energi and Utilities.


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