Digitalisation for the benefit of the environment: Council approves conclusions

The Council today approved conclusions addressing the twin societal challenge of digital transformation and green transition and exploring ways to contribute to building the necessary bridges between them.

The Council underlines in its conclusions the potential of the twin transition for new green and digital job creation necessary for the economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. It also stresses that the digital transition should be fair and inclusive and should leave no one behind.

Digitalisation is an excellent lever to accelerate the transition towards a climate-neutral, circular and more resilient economy. At the same time, we must put the appropriate policy framework in place to avoid adverse effects of digitalisation on the environment. These conclusions reflect in a balanced way where the EU needs to act to make the most of this twin transition.

Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany

The conclusions give political guidance to the Commission with a view to presenting appropriate initiatives to exploit the opportunities offered by digitalisation for environmental protection and climate action, and to limit the negative environmental impacts of digitalisation itself.

The Council encourages the Commission, among other things, to develop an ambitious policy agenda for using digital solutions to achieve the zero-pollution ambition.

The Council conclusions also call on the Commission to propose regulatory or non-regulatory measures to reduce the environmental footprint of data centres and communication networks, as well as to present an action plan by the end of 2021 on how to reduce the amount of disposed ICT products by 2025.


At EU level, discussion on the links between digitalisation and the environment have gained momentum in recent years. The European Commission has been systematically looking at the links between digitalisation and the environment especially in the context of the European Green Deal, but also in that of the Digital Strategy and its New Industrial Strategy for Europe.

Several of the recent initiatives published under the European Green Deal are harnessing digital tools to reach their environmental and climate goals with the aim of addressing the issue in a coherent manner, including the new Circular Economy Action Plan, the Farm-to-Fork Strategy and the EU Biodiversity strategy for 2030.