Ottawa, April 13, 2022—If the digital economy is to continue to thrive, it must do so within the paradigm of a green economy, with a focus on circular processes, sustainability, a concern for equity across generations, and a thoughtful approach to the meaning and purpose of “economic growth.” 

The digital economy is in rapid growth, accompanied by increasing carbon emissions and the expanding demand for materials. While the digital economy is not a core driver of environmental damage, meeting key targets such as those of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Paris Agreement requires all industries to curb their environmental footprints.  

Embedding green economy practices that are low carbon, resource efficient, and socially inclusive is one way for the digital economy to balance growth without sacrificing the environment. While not an exclusive list, Thinking Green: Building a Sustainable Digital Economy for Canada discusses five key areas where the green and digital economies interact: 

Foundations for a Digital Economy—Improving the digital economy’s environmental footprint will require supporting green tech production and adoption, and initiatives to reduce emissions. 

The Future of Work—The thriving digital economy will capitalize on developments in technology and the green economy, driving a future of work that is both equitable and sustainable. 

The Human Side of Tech—Support for climate migrants, technology transfers, and technology built for social and environmental good are critical for healthy, sustainable digital economy 

Smart Communities—The concept of “open smart cities” provides an important framework for communities to navigate the green economy and boost local innovation capacity.  

Trade and Investment—Greening Canada’s trade and investment activity is a long-term commitment that is pivotal for economic growth and social wellbeing.  

“For Canada to be a leader in climate change action, an all-encompassing approach in government policies, business strategies, and consumer empowerment will be necessary to enable a digital-led sustainable economy. Our actions today will form the foundations of a better and prosperous future for generation to come.” —Namir Anani, ICTC President and CEO. 

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit, national centre of expertise for strengthening Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Through trusted research, practical policy advice, and creative capacity-building programs, ICTC fosters globally competitive Canadian industries enabled by innovative and diverse digital talent. In partnership with an expansive network of industry leaders, academic partners, and policy makers from across Canada, ICTC has empowered a robust and inclusive digital economy for over 30 years. 

To arrange an interview on this study or other media inquiries, please contact Paul Stastny at [email protected] or 403.351.0138 Ext. 823. 

This report was produced with support from Evergreen Canada. 

A copy of the study can be accessed here. 

Researched and written by Alexandra Cutean (Chief Research Officer), Mairead Matthews (Senior Research and Policy Analyst), and Khiran O’Neill (Research and Policy Analyst) with generous support from Evergreen Canada and the ICTC Digital Think Tank team.