Digitalization for sustainability transformations: Critical perspectives, lessons learned, and future prospects



Tagung zu Digitalisierung und Nachhaltigkeit
Tagung zu Digitalisierung und Nachhaltigkeit

An international, interdisciplinary academic conference hosted by the University of Augsburg (Germany) in collaboration with the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society, the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), and the German Political Science Association (DVPW).

Place:       Centre for Climate Resilience, University of Augsburg (near Munich), Germany

Date:        20 September 2023, 3 pm to
                 22 September 2023, 1 pm

Digitalization and sustainability transformation are two of the most significant challenges facing the world today. However, the links between these topics have rarely been addressed from an interdisciplinary perspective. This conference aims to bring together digitalization and sustainability scholars for a vibrant exchange across disciplinary boundaries.

In the face of massive global environmental and sustainability challenges, the potential of digital technologies to foster sustainable development has received increasing attention in recent years. However, the extent to which digitalization (including big data and artificial intelligence) can contribute to solving the world’s most pressing sustainability problems, ranging from biodiversity loss to the climate crisis and persistent pollution, remains an open question. 

How digitalization can contribute to sustainable development is not just a technological question. It also depends on how the development and use of digital technologies is governed and socially embedded. Further, there is a risk of digital innovations perpetuating the status quo or inhibiting sustainability transformations instead of facilitating change towards sustainable development. These observations serve as starting points for exploring the changing knowledge base and real-world practices that impact sustainability politics and governance in times of digitalization.

The two overarching research questions of this conference are as follows: 

How does digitalization transform the knowledge and practices of environmental and sustainability policymaking? 

Which forms of digitalization governance are needed to harness its potential for sustainability transformations? 
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Weizenbaum Institut