Digital Sustainability Alliance launches to address the environmental impact of storing and computing digital data

27/10/2023
Ben Golub (CEO of Storj)

THE Digital Sustainability Alliance, the leading voice for innovative, sustainable technology practices and solutions, has launched to address the environmental impact of storing and computing the hundreds of zettabytes of digital data being generated across the world.

The Digital Sustainability Alliance has been set up with the aim of reducing the carbon and cost of data by 80 percent or more through a combination of industry experts, innovators and technology solutions in a membership-based alliance.

The Alliance was created through the efforts of three founding members (including Storj, Ad Signal and Valdi), all founded to create a greener, faster and more secure digital world for storing and distributing content. Believing that environmental stewardship is everyone’s duty, the founders welcome additional innovative firms, educators, and influencers to join the Alliance.

Network traffic and data centres account for 2.3 per cent of global CO2 emissions according to estimates from the Digital Sustainability Alliance, surpassing the global aviation industry. 

By 2040, the carbon output from data centres, data processing, and video will account for 14 percent of the world’s carbon if there is no intervention, according to research from Computerworld, making data a bigger contributor to global carbon emissions than agriculture. With global data creation growing by 23 percent annually, newer carbon intensive technologies such as generative AI are also significantly contributing to the problem.

Ben Golub, Co-Founder of the Digital Sustainability Alliance and CEO of Storj, said: “Digital sustainability is the biggest untold story out there. Politicians and environmental activists often warn of the existential threat of global warming, but few know about and truly understand the extent of the issue that digital sustainability presents. The Digital Sustainability Alliance has been formed to open the eyes of policy makers, big tech companies and industry to the stark reality of the carbon impacts of data consumption and the urgent need for digital sustainability.”

“The founding members of the Digital Sustainability Alliance will provide game-changing relief through innovation and stewardship in the field of digital sustainability and call on Governments and industry to join the action. The solutions are right in front of us. For example, if the world exclusively used the tech solutions from companies similar to the Alliance’s members, we could potentially reduce the carbon output of data centres from 14 percent down to just 2 percent.

The news comes following the Digital Sustainability Alliance co-founder Ben Golub’s panel discussion at NAB New York where he called for greener technology choices and outlined the Alliance’s mission to reduce global carbon impact.

Tom Dunning, Co-Founder of the Digital Sustainability Alliance and CEO of Ad Signal, commented: “The world has embraced AI and other emerging technologies with little forethought, understanding and consideration of the consequences and carbon output. The Digital Sustainability Alliance has a vital role to play in educating policy and industry on the dangers of rapidly increasing data and network traffic through duplicate storage, GPU wastage, AI and other poorly optimised technologies.”

“Through measures such as reducing video storage sizes by removing duplicates and utilising empty space in data centres, we can optimise and reduce the existing storage being used in the world to lower global carbon emissions and give ourselves a greener future while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of innovation.”

To find out more visit the Digital Sustainability Alliance website: https://digitalsustainabilityalliance.org

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