Digital tech has an ambivalent relationship with the environment. The tech sector has recently begun to focus on the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions as digital transformation accelerates, via the greening of IT and procurement. Beyond these critical issues loom larger challenges and opportunities. In this session, we explore one critical challenge: public governance of environmental data is not keeping pace with fast-paced private sector innovation in instrumentation and environmental data harvesting, raising unprecedented policy challenges for governments around the world. We also explore a promising opportunity: digital tech innovations are exponentially accelerating government’s ability to engage in environmental monitoring, protection, and enforcement. These developments sit at the confluence of Canada’s Innovation and Skills agenda, and its domestic and international environmental stewardship responsibilities–creating an exciting opportunity for driving innovation and renewing talent in the public sector and beyond.
Professor and Canada Research Chair / Co-Director, Program on Water GovernanceUniversity of British Columbia
Head of the Digital Transformation Task ForceUN Environment Program
Executive Director, Digital Change Sector, Office of the Chief Information Officer of CanadaTreasury Board of Canada Secretariat / Government of Canada