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What’s Next for the SDIA? Core Values are the Springboard for a New Direction
18 Jul 2023

What’s Next for the SDIA? Core Values are the Springboard for a New Direction

General Assembly 2023

Transparency, fairness, honesty. These have been the guiding principles of the Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance since its foundation. As the organization approaches its fourth anniversary, these values are driving a new and exciting direction. 

In the SDIA’s General Assembly on 15 June 2023, Executive Chairman, Max Schulze set out the impact and progress the Alliance has made over the last year. However, the focus was firmly on the future and bringing the SDIA’s values to the digital sector to help in building a more sustainable future.

“Our definition of sustainability. Focusing on the best outcome for society, the environment, and the economy.”

Max Schulze, General Assembly 2023

Debate with Direct Impact: An Overview

Over the last four years, the SDIA has become a prominent voice in the debate around sustainable digital infrastructure. As Max highlights, the SDIA’s Roadmap has been adopted by over 100 organizations looking for a practical framework to identify and address sustainability gaps.

An emphasis on dialogue and debate is at the core of the SDIA, and has underpinned its progress over the last year. Every SDIA event, workshop, or steering group brings together the best thinkers, innovators, engineers, and technical minds on a topic. Whether that’s discussing the future of hydrogen, heat reuse, or the vision for a ‘European Cloud’, the end-goal is the same. To collaborate, share knowledge, and build sustainable change.

The Alliance’s approach of collaboration, debate and consensus building has had a direct impact on policy, bringing SDIA values to the entire digital sector. Max outlined policy impact, including the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) and EEG in Germany which includes policies the SDIA advocated for. He also pointed out that key SDIA ideas are becoming more widespread. For example, building a European Cloud that facilitates regional, sustainable development.

A Sustainable Digital Future Depends on Dialogue and Collaboration

“Our vision: We co-create and synthesize a vision for a positive, sustainable digital future through debate and dialogue.”

The world has reached a critical point: Technology is developing faster than ever before, resulting in a constant saturation of new digital products and services. And, with this rapid development, it’s imperative that we ask the important questions, and consciously co-create our future:

  • Who should decide which products and services markets and communities need? Should these decisions be in the hands of big tech?
  • Are we on the right path for a sustainable Digital Economy?
  • The rapid increase in new digital products and services relies on the growth of digital infrastructure. In turn, this increases the sector’s consumption of scarce resources. What does this mean for sustainability?
  • And if this is not the future we want, what’s the alternative? What does a positive digital world look like?

This is where the SDIA can add value: by facilitating dialogue to create a vision of a sustainable digital future.  

The SDIA’s community to date has already translated the debate around a sustainable digital infrastructure into knowledge and policy recommendations. Now, Max stated, is the right time to take this experience and formulate a new roadmap for a sustainable digital economy.

This will require honest conversations, bringing in voices from across the value chain. The SDIA community has the independence, values, and experience to achieve this.

How do we Co-Create a Positive & Sustainable Digital Economy?

“Synthesizing debate into something actionable is key.”

To create this new vision and roadmap, the SDIA will transform into a global think tank over the next nine months.

As an established body of knowledge, the SDIA as an independent think tank will focus on debate and open dialogue synthesizing perspectives, whilst focusing on digital sustainability research and initiatives. Its founding principles of transparency, fairness and honesty are critical to this process and in facilitating a positive vision and solutions for our digital future.

The SDIA is incredibly grateful for the support of its member community. To ensure the new think tank is truly independent, individual membership will remain free and open to everyone but going forwards organizational membership will cease if favor of knowledge sharing donations, and funding contributions.

An Exciting New Chapter

“Co-creating a sustainable digital future through debate and policy.”

The Alliance is inviting its members, supporters, and partners to donate through roadmap or policy workshops, either for their own organization or as donations for others so that digital sustainability best practices can be shared. In return, they will have full access to SDIA’s knowledge. In the spirit of openness, these donations will be listed on SDIA’s website.

Max concluded by saying that, “as a non-profit we seek to deliver impact”. In this new chapter, that means facilitating debate and bringing together solutions that contribute to a positive digital future. It means helping people to understand where the gaps are and how to address them.

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