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Contribution Details

Type Journal Article
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Digital sufficiency: conceptual considerations for ICTs on a finite planet
Organization Unit
  • Tilman Santarius
  • Jan Bieser
  • Vivian Frick
  • Mattias Höjer
  • Maike Gossen
  • Lorenz Hilty
  • Eva Kern
  • Johanna Pohl
  • Friederike Rohde
  • Steffen Lange
Item Subtype Original Work
Refereed Yes
Status Published electronically before print/final form (Epub ahead of print)
  • English
Journal Title Annales des Telecommunications
Publisher Springer
Geographical Reach international
ISSN 0003-4347
Page Range Epub ahead of print
Date 2022
Abstract Text ICT hold significant potential to increase resource and energy efficiencies and contribute to a circular economy. Yet unresolved is whether the aggregated net effect of ICT overall mitigates or aggravates environmental burdens. While the savings potentials have been explored, drivers that prevent these and possible counter measures have not been researched thoroughly. The concept digital sufficiency constitutes a basis to understand how ICT can become part of the essential environmental transformation. Digital sufficiency consists of four dimensions, each suggesting a set of strategies and policy proposals: (a) hardware sufficiency, which aims for fewer devices needing to be produced and their absolute energy demand being kept to the lowest level possible to perform the desired tasks; (b) software sufficiency, which covers ensuring that data traffic and hardware utilization during application are kept as low as possible; (c) user sufficiency, which strives for users applying digital devices frugally and using ICT in a way that promotes sustainable lifestyles; and (d) economic sufficiency, which aspires to digitalization supporting a transition to an economy characterized not by economic growth as the primary goal but by sufficient production and consumption within planetary boundaries. The policies for hardware and software sufficiency are relatively easily conceivable and executable. Policies for user and economic sufficiency are politically more difficult to implement and relate strongly to policies for environmental transformation in general. This article argues for comprehensive policies for digital sufficiency, which are indispensible if ICT are to play a beneficial role in overall environmental transformation.
Free access at DOI
Official URL
Digital Object Identifier 10.1007/s12243-022-00914-x
Other Identification Number merlin-id:22475
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