Panel 3, Thursday 25 Jun 13:30-15:00 (GMT+1)



- Steve Easterbrook, professor of computer science and Director of the School of Environment, University of Toronto,


- Pernilla Bergmark, researcher in sustainability impacts of digitalization, Ericsson, Sweden
- Rachel Lunnon, computer programmer and XR activist, UK
- Tilman Santarius, Technical University Berlin, Professor of Social Transformation and Sustainable Digitalization, member of Greenpeace Germany board
- Adam Turner, Sustainable Technology Lead, UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs

In this panel, we aim to bring together representatives from different sectors to explore how we do - or do not - work effectively together towards a sustainable future, how we can better join forces, and how ICT can help us work better for sustainability. With the recent growth in eco-activism globally, how should academia and industry respond and acknowledge popular opinion? What are the most effective ways of ensuring that the interdisciplinary approaches implicit in the ICT4S approach are continued into industry outcomes and supported by policy. Does industry and research pursue advances in tech and competitive edge over thoughtful and environmentally sustainable outcomes? And if so, how can this be turned around for maximum benefit to the planet? How can activists draw on ICT to strengthen their actions for sustainability? This panel will be about bringing a range of perspectives together to challenge assumptions about how we work together and do/or do not utilise ICT tools.

Discussion points:

  • How do we currently collaborate towards sustainability? What are the barriers?
  • Different perspectives from different countries?
  • How are academics working with industry for sustainable solutions?
  • How is tech supporting / responding to activism, role of activist researchers?
  • And what are current hurdles? How can we overcome them? Does ICT help to overcome them or add to them?
  • What do industry/academia/policy/other stakeholders need from each other to support sustainable outcomes?
  • Growth or not - who decides?

  • Panel details

    Steve Easterbrook (Chair) is Director of the School of the Environment and a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, Canada.

    His research focuses on how climate scientists develop computational models to improve their understanding of earth systems and climate change, and the role of digital technologies in the transition to a post-carbon world. He has been a visiting scientist at the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, in Exeter, the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado; the Max-Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg, and the Institute Pierre Simon Laplace in Paris.

    Pernilla Bergmark, master researcher in sustainability impacts of digitalization, Ericsson, Sweden

    Pernilla Bergmark is a Master Researcher focused on the sustainability impacts of ICT. Her research interests include methodology development and assessments related to climate impacts, circular economy, smart sustainable cities, and the global goals. She is also a co-author and part of the core team of Exponential Roadmap for 1.5C and 1.5C Business Playbook, a collaboration with Future Earth, KTH, Sitra, WWF and others. Pernilla is also active in standardization as a co-rapporteur of ITU SG5 Q9, in ETSI EE, and in the Swedish national committee for ISO TC 268 (SIS TK 588). Lately she has contributed to the development of the ICT sectoral decarbonization approach.

    Abstract: In her introduction, Pernilla Bergmark will share her experiences from working across academia/business/NGOs to push forward the message on the necessity of halving global emissions by 2030, and to anchor that work at an industry level in collaboration with several business organizations to set sector specific trajectories. She will also introduce the 1.5C business playbook and the importance of finding ways to scale current initiatives beyond the frontrunners.

    Rachel Lunnon, former computer programmer and XR activist, Bristol, UK

    I studied at Manchester University, UK, starting a PhD in computer science but leaving with a doctorate in mathematical logic in 1991. I held a couple of postdoc positions in the US (Indiana University and UCLA) before leaving academia to work as a programmer for over 20 years. I have always been concerned about environmental matters but personally felt very helpless. When I heard about Extinction Rebellion in Oct of 2018 something clicked. In April 2019 I spent over a week camping in London and sitting under a pink boat. Soon after, I gave up my job to be a full time activist.

    Abstract: XR has three demands (tell the truth, act now, and citizen's assembly) and these are relevant to individuals and institutions that want to work towards a sustainable and regenerative future. The question is posed "Does industry and research pursue advances in tech and competitive edge over thoughtful and environmentally sustainable outcomes", and while the driver of industry is economic growth then the answer will be yes. What does industry, academia and individual life look like in a society which pursues thoughtful and environmentally sustainable outcomes over competitive edges? This isn't about your department doing the recycling, it's not about inventing an app to help people reduce their individual environmental impact. It's about deep societal change.

    Tilman Santarius is professor for Social Transformation and Sustainable Digitalization at the Technical University of Berlin and the Einstein Centre Digital Futures, Germany.

    Tilman is also Senior Fellow at the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW). Tilman has published on topics such as climate policy, world trade, sustainable economics, global justice and, most recently, digital transformation. Apart from numerous articles, Tilman co-authored several books, the latest of which was published at the end of May 2020: “Smart Green World. Making Digitalization Work for Sustainability” (Routledge). For many years, Tilman has been active in the international NGO-Networks: “Climate Action Network” (CAN) and “Our World Is Not For Sale" (OWINFS). For ten years, he served as board member of the environment and development NGO “Germanwatch", and for four years on the board of "Greenpeace". More at:

    Abstract: One of the key messages of Tilman’s publications is: If ICT should positively contribute to global sustainability goals, its development and application must be shaped far more rigorously by politics. Hence, Tilman can share experiences on how to get the issue on the political and public agenda, help NGOs to put pressure on politics, develop lighthouse projects with responsible entrepreneurs and cooperate with ministries in order to help political actors to consider “Digitalization and Sustainability” as a key area of action.

    Adam Turner, HMG Sustainable Technology Lead, UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs

    Adam is a chartered environmentalist with IEMA and studied ecology at university. As government lead for sustainable technology and chair of the pan-government Sustainable Technology Advice & Reporting (STAR), Adam led the creation of the UK Government's Sustainable Technology strategy 2018- 2020. A new strategy for 2020-205 will be published this autumn. Prior to Defra, Adam also spent several years working on delivering sustainability ICT and Digital policy and solutions at the Ministry of Defence.

    Abstract: Impacting c500,000 employees across the civil service and thousands of suppliers, Adam will provide an overview of the planned 2020-2025 Greening Government: ICT and Digital Services Strategy its key drivers, themes, outcomes and challenges.

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