Digitalisation of the economy and society is a significant driver of changes in lifestyles and the work environment. The increasingly decentralized availability and rapidly developing capacity of information and communications technology (ICT) and internet infrastructure are constantly making new applications possible. Technologies such as cloud computing, 3D printing, Big Data or Industry 4.0 are changing consumption, work and production processes and even the structures within entire industries.

What contribution can digitalisation make to climate protection and to green growth? This central research question of our project has remained largely unanswered until now. Very high potentials of ICT for protecting the climate are regularly reported; some investigations have calculated potential reductions of worldwide CO2 emissions resulting from ICT of up to 20 percent by 2030. However, up until now, two significant aspects of ICT have not been adequately taken into account. First, ICT products are triggering changes in demand. For example products and services are becoming better in terms of quality while also going down in price, so that demand for ICT products is becoming stronger. Second, ICT enable the relocation of national and international production processes. This is precisely what this project will have as its focus.

The Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) will investigate the effects of sectoral ICT investments on the production structures of value chains and the substitution and replacement effects set in motion by digitalisation at the level of the overall economy. In addition, the ZEW reviews macroeconomic results at the firm level. The work of the Borderstep Institute focuses on impact assessments in the areas of virtualization and cloud computing, video conference systems and online collaboration in companies, Internet and media use in private households as well as industry 4.0. A direct link of our research to the real world will be guaranteed on the one hand through cooperation with our institutional partner Zweckverband Kommunale Datenverarbeitung Oldenburg (KDO), and on the other hand through the establishment of a project advisory group consisting of institutional partners.

This project has received funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the funding priority „Economics of Climate Change“. Further information on the project can also be found on the CliDiTrans website of our partner Boderstep and the overview of topics in the BMBF funding priority at ZEW.

To support transfer of knowledge and to intensify the exchange between scientists and practitioners, the funding priority is supported by the Dialogue on the Economics of Climate Change.