What are current forms of unsustainable technology

Digitization and sustainability

The world is increasingly facing two major changes: On the one hand, it is becoming more and more digital. Whether in business or in society: Digitization penetrates and changes almost every aspect of our lives. On the other hand, it is becoming increasingly clear that the way we live and do business has negative consequences for our planet. One thing is clear: we cannot continue as before. So that all people have a fair chance of a good future in social, economic and ecological terms, we need more sustainable development in all areas of life.

Here the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is using the Action plan "Natural.Digital.Sustainable" at. We want to bring digitization and sustainable development together in a targeted manner. Because digital technologies can support and accelerate sustainable development in many areas - be it through data-driven efficiency increases or digital innovations, for example for sustainable urban development, circular economy and the energy transition.

The BMBF is pursuing a comprehensive approach that extends from education through basic and method research to application. With this approach, we are helping to achieve the goals for sustainable development of the United Nations Agenda 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs). We set the following priorities:

  1. We create the basis for sustainable, digital innovations. By promoting education for people of all ages and levels of education, we anchor competencies and skills for sustainable action in an increasingly digitized world in society. We also promote the security of digital technologies in order to protect the individual and their rights and to strengthen the basis of trust for sustainable digital innovations.
  2. We make digital technologies more sustainable. We promote methods and technologies that reduce the energy and resource consumption of digital and digitized infrastructures and applications and that take into account the recycling of the products used during development.
  3. We create digital innovations as a contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. With the development and application of digitally-supported innovations, we make a contribution to the sustainability goals of the 2030 Agenda, for example to protect the climate and the environment. With the help of digitization, we promote sustainable cities and circular economy, enable new forms of mobility and energy supply and develop the health care of the future.

We are convinced that sustainable digitization can only succeed if people trust that their lives will improve significantly through digitization. This trust presupposes that research and development in the field of digitization are also geared in particular to the principles of sustainable development and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations. Because the goal of sustainable development is a good life for present and future generations. That is why our actions are based on the following beliefs:

1. Digitization must support people in their individual development

The prerequisite for human well-being is its individual development. This is indispensably linked to the freedom, self-determination, security and health of people. These goals are therefore also central in the digital transformation. Digital innovations should support these goals and must be developed in such a way that they do not have any opposing effects.

2. Digital technologies must serve society

Digital innovations can make decisive contributions to the implementation of the 17 sustainability goals in social terms. Social cohesion is a value by which digitalization must also be measured. Social prosperity and participation as well as competitiveness and innovation through digitization provide a basis for this.

3. Digitization should serve to preserve the natural foundations of life and must not stand in the way of it

This means that natural resources, ecosystems and their biodiversity as well as the climate are protected. It is intended to make a contribution to the implementation of the sustainability goals from an ecological point of view and help to reconcile economy and ecology.

The action plan is in the context of the German government's sustainability strategy and the digital strategy of the BMBF. In the new editions of the German Sustainability Strategy from 2020, digitization should also be given greater focus.