Press release

IISD urges Canada to use Internet/IT to secure sustainable prosperity and build green economy

July 20, 2010
WINNIPEG—July 21, 2010—The International Institute for Sustainable Development urges Canada to secure sustainable prosperity by using the Internet and other digital technologies to help build a green economy and address the major social and environmental challenges facing Canadians and others around the world.

The Digital Economy and the Green Economy: Opportunities for Strategic Synergies—IISD's submission to Canada's Digital Economy Consultation— sets out ways for information communication technologies (ICTs) to really contribute to sustainability objectives.

For example, ICTs can support the development of the green economy through such things as improved energy efficiency and the increased use of virtual products and service. Smart systems are already transforming transportation infrastructure, buildings maintenance and production, and can also be used to improve monitoring of the environment and management of natural resources.

Changes in the underlying global governance structures can also assist sustainability goals through changes in consumer behaviour, attitudes and values, as well as opportunities for economic and social innovation and entrepreneurship.

"Just as sustainable development policy-makers have begun to focus on the role of innovation, market mechanisms, and social entrepreneurship in the achievement of environmental and other objectives, the ICT sector and ICT policy-makers have begun to recognize the opportunities emerging from the critical role ICTs can play as a key enabling technology supporting green growth and the development of the green economy," the report says.

It suggests Canada take a leading role in the promotion of "green ICTs" as the ICT sector needs to "clean up its own act". The ICT sector currently generates around 2-3 per cent of global CO2 emissions — an amount larger than the emissions of the airline industry and roughly equivalent to those of Canada, according to the report. 

"Canada's digital economy strategy should be framed in the context of the major economic, social and environmental challenges facing Canada and all other countries in a world where opportunities for sustainable prosperity and threats to human well-being are increasingly complex, interconnected, and global in scope.

"To do this, we need to seize opportunities and overcome barriers," it says, adding that it will be necessary to develop an action plan that maximizes the linkages between the digital economy and the green economy.

For more information, please contact IISD media and communication officer Nona Pelletier,
Phone: +1-(204)-958-7740, Cell: +1-(204)-962-1303.

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.