EDF is counting on digital responsibility, which promotes a sustainable and efficient use, of digital technology, rather than on digital sobriety, which is associated with a decrease in use.
The “Digital Responsibility” approach reflects EDF's commitment to a digital transformation that is low-carbon, low-energy, inclusive, ethical and presents high environmental value for its customers and employees.
Digital technology has a significant environmental footprint
Digital technology is omnipresent, from the operation of data centres to end-users, and it is a big part of our daily lives in that it makes them easier. However, far from being immaterial, digital technology uses energy-consuming equipment which, taken together, accounts for almost 4 % of the world's annual CO2 emissions - the equivalent of the world's truck fleets. In addition to carbon dioxide emissions, its issues include waste hardly being recycled, and the mining of rare earths and metals used in the manufacture of equipment.
Digital responsibility implies a more virtuous approach
The “Digital Responsibility” approach within the EDF Group promotes new uses of digital technology: it is not a question of being less digital, but of being more rational. Digital technology is a formidable tool for developing what is known as IT for green, i.e. IT that serves the environment, in addition to green IT, i.e. IT that respects the environment. By balancing these two components and combining them with social IT, in favour of digital inclusion, EDF is implementing a responsible digital system that is low-carbon and energy-efficient, but also inclusive, ethical and presents high environmental value for both its customers and employees. In March 2021, EDF SA was the first energy company to obtain the “Digital Responsibility”certification, an initiative supported by the French Ministry for the Ecological Transition.
What does digital responsibility mean in practice, at EDF?
Beyond the power of words, actions demonstrate that, for EDF, digital responsibility is a concrete matter. The Group's data centres are both ISO 14001 (environmental management) and ISO 50001 (energy management) certified. Their energy consumption has been reduced by 15% over the past five years, while the number of servers and computing power has doubled over the same period. Other examples : EDF recycles and reconditions end-of-life IT equipment and donates it to associations or schools ; carbon footprint and accessibility are now determining criteria in the choice or development of new software.
Digital responsibility at the service of customers
The e.equilibre application allows EDF customers to better understand and reduce their energy consumption. It is one of the many illustrations of responsible digital technology at the service of customers.
Digital responsibility to reduce the digital divide
Digital responsibility requires an ethical and inclusive approach. EDF carries out numerous actions to provide access to the digital world to populations in need. For more than five years, in partnership with the EDF Group Foundation, the company has been involved in both ecological and social actions : optimising IT equipment end-of-life, donating computers to associations, local authorities, or schools and students in difficulty. For example, during the health crisis, EDF donated over 1,500 computers to underprivileged students to enable them to attend classes remotely during lockdown.
EDF Group employees involved in the “Digital Responsibility” approach
Promoting responsible and efficient digital use also involves raising awareness among EDF Group employees of the impact of their activities on the environment, in order to enable them to adapt their digital behaviour. Carbon neutrality passport, “digital responsibility”, challenges, digital eco-gestures, e-learning, carbon footprint calculators, are all examples of the tools available to each EDF employee to develop and professionalise their “digital responsibility” skills and habits.
EDF participates in Cyber World Cleanup Day
Every year since 2020, EDF has become more involved in this global digital clean-up movement. The aim is to take one day to delete unnecessary data stored in the cloud or on company servers in order to reduce our carbon footprint.