While digital technology holds the key to solving global environmental challenges and security risks, the concentration of the power of the data economy outside of Europe can also increase threats. A sustainable future requires a sovereign, responsible and secure digital economy, with the Nordic countries leading the way.
The current state of world affairs has made the sustainable, fair and secure development of digital technologies more important than ever. The place of power in today’s data economy is in countries outside the European Union, which poses a challenge to European sovereignty and resilience.
“The development of the European data economy is driven by human values, but the processing of data in jurisdictions outside the reach of EU regulation poses a threat to data protection, information security and the achievement of climate goals. Today it is even 92 percent of all data are processed outside the EU,” says Alberto ValeroVice President and Head of Technology and Growth at Tietoevry Connect, sheds light on the background of the European Union’s digital strategy, which aims to sustainably strengthen European IT expertise to ensure digital sovereignty.
The impact of digital technologies on individuals, businesses, the environment and society at large is a multidimensional phenomenon. Technology plays a key role in solving climate problems, energy crises, economic crises and even global security threats. At the same time, the IT industry itself is struggling with the same challenges that it wants to solve.
“The infrastructure of the IT industry is evolving rapidly and its impact on the environment is enormous. The EU estimates that digital technology accounts for 8-10 percent of all energy consumption worldwide. Nevertheless, with the help of modern technology and an environmentally friendly data economy, we have been successful. In 2021 alone, we were able to reduce our customers’ carbon emissions by an estimated 75,000 kg.
Tietoevry is leading towards a sustainable data economy by setting high standards for itself and actively participating in industry discussions and development efforts in collaboration with other industry players and the European Union.
The power of cloud services
Cloud services provided in line with green values are the most effective way to increase energy efficiency and reduce the negative environmental impact of the data economy.
“Cloud services are 90 percent more energy efficient than traditional server rooms, and 5G technology is proportionately more efficient than 4G technology. In fact, the waste heat from data centers is already being used all year round to heat 700 households. Espoo, for example. Currently, half of the energy we consume is recovered and reused to heat homes,” Valero emphasizes the importance of cloud services and modern technology to overcome the energy crisis.
One of the goals of the EU’s digital strategy is the complete conversion of the data economy to renewable energies by 2030. In the case of Tietoevry, CO2-neutral energy consumption will be achieved next year.
“We have increased our renewable energy consumption to 92 percent by 2021, and our energy savings are equivalent to the annual energy consumption of over 1,000 Finnish households. Given the current global situation, we are proud of our position as an industry leader in achieving ambitious sustainability goals and highlighting their tangible impact,” says Valero, outlining the company’s achievements that impact society as a whole.
The Nordic countries are at the forefront of developing modern cloud technologies, which is helping to further strengthen Europe’s position in the data economy of the future.
“Cold conditions are ideal for energy-efficient data centers. In addition to climatic advantages, data centers on sovereign Nordic soil also offer security advantages of data centers in countries with cold climates.”
In addition to environmental issues, the impact of digital technologies extends to people’s private lives, the operating conditions of companies, and the security and vitality of society, creating increased regulatory pressure. The right of individuals to protection of privacy and equal services – also in exceptional cases – as well as national and international security and the conditions for fair competition between companies depend on a common European data economy in which sustainable innovation goes hand in hand with democratic values . The power of technology must be contained through responsible leadership.
“The impact of the IT industry on society and the environment is extensive and complex. With this in mind, it is important to consider in which direction the industry is going, who is driving that direction, how new solutions are being developed, and where data centers are located and the countries where cloud services are managed. We live at a time when the basic needs and human rights we used to take for granted are under threat, making it all the more important to strengthen Europe’s data economy and keep our destiny in our own hands,” says Valero.
Tietoevry works with industry players and the European Union to develop a secure and sustainable infrastructure that is regulated to ensure a fair digital environment for Europeans and a more effective use of the available data.
“The European Commission estimates that up to 80 percent of available industrial data remains completely unused. Resilience, recovery, competitiveness, security and well-being can all be promoted by improving the availability of data in a reliable environment. Data is an inexhaustible resource. Their use does not exhaust them. Against this background, data that has value should be refined and used more effectively to support the development of society and companies alike. Successful leadership through digital technology holds enormous potential for increasing prosperity, solidarity and sustainability,” explains Valero.
While industry regulation increases security, it also poses challenges for innovation. Rapid changes in industrial development and applicable legislation require continuous monitoring of the operating environment and a deep insight into current trends and developments. Innovation must be aligned with environmental goals, existing regulations and future regulations. At the same time, maintaining competitiveness and improving profitability requires continuous optimization of efficiency and improved risk management. Working with a reliable partner relieves and increases efficiency.
Nordic values and solid know-how as the cornerstone of the data economy
Tietoevry is an active influencer developing sustainable cloud services with a strong focus on environment, energy efficiency, data sovereignty and cybersecurity.
The company strives to provide all of its customers with solutions that meet today’s challenges and are based on the individual needs of each organization.
The solutions take into account the entire sphere of influence of the IT industry, including opportunities and risks, which makes it possible to find advantageous and optimized solutions for the respective challenges.
Nordic values combined with global skills and technology competencies provide a solid foundation for strengthening the data economy.
Text Mari Korhonen Photos Joona Raevuori