DSA to address the environmental impact of storing and computing digital data

The Digital Sustainability Alliance has been established as a leading advocate for sustainable technology practises and solutions. Its primary mission is to tackle the environmental impact of the vast amounts of digital data generated worldwide, aiming to decrease both the carbon footprint and the financial cost of data by at least 80%. This goal will be achieved through the collaboration of industry experts, innovators, and technology solutions, all brought together within a membership-based alliance.

The Alliance was founded by three key members, including Storj, Ad Signal, and Valdi, all of whom share the vision of creating a more eco-friendly, faster, and more secure digital world for content storage and distribution. They strongly believe that protecting the environment is a shared responsibility and are open to welcoming additional forward-thinking companies, educators, and influencers to join their cause.

According to the Digital Sustainability Alliance’s estimates, network traffic and data centres are responsible for approximately 2.3% of global CO2 emissions, surpassing the global aviation industry’s environmental impact. If no action is taken, research from Computerworld suggests that by 2040, carbon emissions from data centres, data processing, and video will account for 14% of the world’s total carbon emissions, surpassing agriculture as a contributor. This alarming trend is exacerbated by the annual 23% growth in global data creation and the significant carbon footprint of emerging technologies like generative AI.

Ben Golub, Co-Founder of the Digital Sustainability Alliance and CEO of Storj, said: “Digital sustainability is the biggest untold story out there. Politicians and environmental activists often warn of the existential threat of global warming, but few know about and truly understand the extent of the issue that digital sustainability presents. The Digital Sustainability Alliance has been formed to open the eyes of policy makers, big tech companies and industry to the stark reality of the carbon impacts of data consumption and the urgent need for digital sustainability.”

“The founding members of the Digital Sustainability Alliance will provide game-changing relief through innovation and stewardship in the field of digital sustainability and call on Governments and industry to join the action. The solutions are right in front of us. For example, if the world exclusively used the tech solutions from companies similar to the Alliance’s members, we could potentially reduce the carbon output of data centres from 14 percent down to just 2 percent.”

The news comes following the Digital Sustainability Alliance co-founder Ben Golub’s panel discussion at NAB New York where he called for greener technology choices and outlined the Alliance’s mission to reduce global carbon impact.

Tom Dunning, Co-Founder of the Digital Sustainability Alliance and CEO of Ad Signal, commented: “The world has embraced AI and other emerging technologies with little forethought, understanding and consideration of the consequences and carbon output. The Digital Sustainability Alliance has a vital role to play in educating policy and industry on the dangers of rapidly increasing data and network traffic through duplicate storage, GPU wastage, AI and other poorly optimised technologies.”

“Through measures such as reducing video storage sizes by removing duplicates and utilising empty space in data centres, we can optimise and reduce the existing storage being used in the world to lower global carbon emissions and give ourselves a greener future while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of innovation.”

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