Digital Innovation Can Help Tackle Climate Change and Power Sustainable Development

On Thursday, May 27th SME Connect organized the webinar on how Digital Innovation Can Help Tackle Climate Change and Power Sustainable Development. Spanning from infrastructure needs to energy consumption, to the use of non-renewable resources, digitalization presents its own sets of challenges. How can we make digitalization sustainable and inclusive for SMEs?

Moderated by DR. HORST HEITZ, Chair of the Steering Committee of SME Connect, the Virtual meeting saw such high-level speakers such as SEAN KELLY MEP, Member of ITRE Committee, EPP Group Rapporteur SME Strategy; Board Member SME Connect; ANNIKA HEDBERG, Senior Policy Analyst and Head of Sustainable Prosperity for Europe Programme, European Policy Centre; DR BJORN-SOREN GIGLER, Senior Digital Innovation Officer, European Commission; Visiting Professor for Political Economy, Georgetown University; DANIEL WEISS, Head of Programme Green Economy, adelphi; KARINA STAN, Director of EU Policy and Head of Brussels Office, Developers Alliance; AURA SALLA, Public Policy Director, Head of Brussels Office Facebook.

“Most of digital innovation already exists. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, we just need to use it,” opens the floor SEAN KELLY MEP. He believes that it’s necessary to help SMEs to access these opportunities and enable green growth.

“When it comes to public spending, we haven’t ensured that digitalization is aimed at solving global challenges,” remarks ANNIKA HEDBERG. Digitalization offers many new possibilities that can be used in benefit for the environment and sustainable development. Therefore it’s important to use those possibilities to their full advantage in order to boost global change.

“Sustainability and digitalization are not new,” comments DR BJORN-SOREN GIGLER. “Digital is an important enabler but we need to green the ICT sector, while keeping in mind that the needs of smes and big players are different.”

DANIEL WEISS, adelphi, states: “There’s a need for more collaboration between players about data, but these requests should not be passed upon smaller companies because they could be easily overwhelmed.” Sharing the experience will potentially lead to much more rapid growth and innovation in companies within the ecosystem.

“It’s not only about the uptake of digital innovation,” remarks KARINA STAN. “A deep transformation of existing business models and regulatory frameworks is also needed.” She also mentions the idea of establishing more private-public partnerships. In the end, it’s all about holistic approach and the right mindset.

“We support the European Green Deal and believe that it will provide an action plan to achieve a more sustainable and climate neutral Europe,” remarks AURA SALLA, Facebook. Understanding the huge responsibility that they have, Facebook tries to help other SMEs by providing extra tools for growth and increasing demand by giving citizens access to verified climate science.