Connect, Collaborate, Change - Forum for the Future

globally with business and government to create a sustainable future. ... Opportunities for information and communication technology (ICT) to promote intrinsic change are .... But ICT itself is not without negative sustainability impacts. Its use of ...
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Connect, Collaborate, Change Opportunities for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to support a new movement for a sustainable society A discussion paper by Forum for the Future

CONNECT, COLLABORATE, CHANGE

This report is part of O2’s series of sustainability discussions. Our business ambition is to grow, but not at any cost. We have an equal responsibility to use our technology and scale to do more for society and the planet. And we are keen to discuss the benefits of technology wherever we can. O2 commissioned Forum for the Future to review and refresh the current thinking on information and communication technology (ICT) as an enabler of sustainability and also highlight the areas of opportunity. Our intention is to explore the themes raised in this report with industry peers, customers, suppliers, employees, NGOs, interest groups, government and other bodies. We value your views and ideas. Please send comments to: [email protected]

O2 is a leading communications company for consumers and businesses in the UK, with over 22 million mobile customers and over 700,000 fixed broadband customers, as at 30 June 2011. Telefónica UK Limited is part of Telefónica Europe plc, a business division of Telefónica S.A. which uses O2 as its commercial brand in the UK, Ireland, Slovakia, Germany and the Czech Republic, and has 57.3 million customers across these markets. Think Big is O2’s sustainability programme. It is designed to stimulate social and environmental change in partnership with employees, customers and other stakeholders. www.o2.co.uk/thinkbig

Forum for the Future is a non-profit organisation working globally with business and government to create a sustainable future. It aims to transform the critical systems that we all depend on, such as food, energy and finance, to make them fit for the challenges of the 21st century. Forum has 15 years’ experience inspiring new thinking, building creative partnerships and developing practical innovations to change our world. The authors are James Taplin, Hugh Knowles and Sejal Mahida at Forum for the Future. Forum for the Future is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Overseas House, 19-23 Ironmonger Row, London, EC1V 3QN, UK. Registered charity no. 1040519. Company no. 2959712. VAT registration no. 677 7475 70.

www.forumforthefuture.org

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CONTENTS INTRODUCTION

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The challenge

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Opportunity and risk

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THE CARBON CONTEXT

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REVIEWING THE RESEARCH

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a) By type of impact

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b) By area of impact

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c) By sector of impact

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GETTING BACK TO BASICS: A NEW ICT FRAMEWORK

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Direct impacts

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Indirect impacts

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Systemic effects

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APPLYING THE FRAMEWORK

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NEW OPPORTUNITIES

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MAKING THE CASE FOR SYSTEMIC CHANGE

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Redefining ownership

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Rethinking finance

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The data revolution and radical transparency

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CONCLUSIONS

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APPENDIX

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CONNECT, COLLABORATE, CHANGE

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Our lifestyles today are ultimately unsustainable. Only through a radical shift in how people’s needs are met across the planet can we hope to confront the great challenges of our time such as: climate change; poverty; population growth; and food and energy security. Opportunities for information and communication technology (ICT) to promote intrinsic change are many and diverse, but we need to know how and where to look for them. Research thinking to date naturally tends to look at how ICT can help people do exi