infrastructure Sustainability

Jisc Digital Sustainability Newsletter #2

Welcome to the eagerly anticipated second edition of the Jisc Digital Sustainability Newsletter where each month we explore the latest news, trends and insights in the intersection between technology and environmental sustainability.  

Be sure to subscribe to our DIGITAL-SUSTAINABILITY JiscMail mailing list to be notified about the release future editions of the Digital Sustainability Newsletter.   

Digital Sustainability at Jisc:  

Here’s a quick update on some of the digital sustainability projects currently underway at Jisc:   

Digital Sustainability Working Group  

April will see the launch of our new FE & Skills Digital Sustainability Working Group. This is a collaborative project for anyone working in the Further Education and Skills Sector to share knowledge, exchange insights and collectively address challenges related to the sustainable use of digital resources within the sector, with an optional informal online meeting held once every two months.  

Whether you work in ICT, sustainability, or simply have an interest in learning more about how these topics intersect, we look forward to welcoming you to the FE & Skills Jisc Digital Sustainability Working Group.  

To express an interest in joining the group, simply fill out this form, and we will ensure you receive invitations to our online bi-monthly meetings and have access to our resources and tools.  

Please feel free to invite anyone from your organisation or network whom you feel may be interested in joining the working group. For any queries, please contact Jisc’s Subject Specialist for Sustainability, Cal Innes at 


New Role: Sustainability Analyst

This month we are welcoming our newest member of staff, Damola Akona, PhD, who is joining our Governance team as a Sustainability Analyst. With his expertise, Damola will be focusing on baselining environmental impacts and formulating improvement objectives across Jisc’s broad portfolio of digital products and services.  

When asked about the new role, Damola told us: “I look forward to collaborating with colleagues to drive meaningful environmental impact and support Jisc’s commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.”  

Welcome aboard Damola!  

Spring Cleaning 

We’re thrilled to announce an exciting initiative at Jisc aimed at significantly shrinking our digital carbon footprint. Our goal is to trim down data stored on Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive by an impressive 25%. Guided by the expertise of Jisc’s Data Governance Manager, Ellen Pawley, we’re rolling out an innovative ‘spring cleaning event’ across our teams. This project not only aligns with our commitment to sustainability but also reflects our proactive steps towards a greener digital future.  

Latest News:  

Here’s a roundup of some of the interesting digital sustainability news and developments from the last month across the UK and beyond. Click on the headline to find out more.  

Green Gown Awards 2024 Accepting Submissions from 3rd April 

The 2024 International Green Gown Awards, celebrating their 10th year, will be accepting submissions from 3rd April. Universities and colleges throughout the UK and Ireland are invited to showcase their innovative sustainability initiatives and join a global network of excellence. Jisc were very proud to sponsor the latest edition to the Green Gown Awards in 2023, the Digital Futures category, which gave well-deserved recognition to colleges and universities who are leading the way with their pioneering digital environmental sustainability initiatives. To find out more, including how to apply and a summary of last year’s winners and finalists, head over The Green Gown Awards website.  

Opera Charts Sustainable Tech Future with Plans to Launch Green-Energy-Powered AI Cluster in Iceland 

Opera, a software company most famous for its multi-platform web browser, plans to launch a sustainable AI cluster (a network of connected computers collaborating on advanced tasks) in Iceland. The innovation will be powered entirely by green energy, making use of Iceland’s abundance of natural geothermal and hydroelectric power. 

New Legislative Bill in the US Calls for Research into AI’s Environmental Impact  

In the US, Senators have introduced The Artificial Intelligence Environmental Impacts Act of 2024, a legislative proposal that calls for a comprehensive study on the environmental effects of AI. The bill emphasises the need for further research into the environmental impacts of AI technology, spanning its entire lifecycle from the mining of rare earth minerals and chip manufacturing to the energy-intensive training and use of AI language models. 

Resource Corner  

Each month we will shine the spotlight on a digital sustainability resource which we hope you might find useful.   

This month we would like to share with you a recently published report from the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), “Building a Sustainable ICT Ecosystem: Strategies and Best Practices for reducing Environmental Harms in a Digital World.”  

As the title suggests, the report calls for collaborative efforts among ICT designers, developers and adopters to implement sustainable strategies. Four key strategic initiatives are outlined to enable organisations to minimise the environmental impact of their ICT:  

  • Establishing organisation-wide sustainable strategies  
  • Adopting best practices for sustainable ICT infrastructure  
  • Developing environmentally sustainable products and services  
  • Sourcing and procuring ICT products and services sustainably.  

The comprehensive study covers the environmental impacts throughout the ICT supply chain, from raw material extraction to disposal and recycling. To access the full report, click here. 

Member Highlights  

In our monthly member highlights, we turn the green spotlight onto one of Jisc’s members in FE and HE who are implementing noteworthy digital sustainability initiatives.  

This month, we would like to share an insight into the Virtual Peel Park (VPP), a collaborative project involving staff and students at the University of Salford, the Salford Ranger Service, and members of the local community in Salford.  

VPP stands out as an pioneering digital tool offering virtual access to a historic park and greenspace, employing 360-degree photos, drone videos, and smartphone snapshots. These online resources not only provide a comprehensive overview of the park’s features, history, and events but also highlight the availability of more sustainable public transport options.  

Simon Hutchinson, Associate Professor (Reader) in Environmental Science at the University of Salford and the driving force behind VPP, commented: “The project makes the park more visible via its online presence, promoting the use of a local environment, which can be reached in a more sustainable way, and reduces travel to sites further afield.” 

Nominated in the 2023 Green Gown Awards’ Jisc-Sponsored Digital Futures Category, the Virtual Peel Park project has gained substantial traction, attracting hundreds of online views since its launch in November last year. Beyond its success, VPP empowers potential visitors to make informed decisions, fostering a deeper connection to green spaces while embodying best practices in both environmental and digital sustainability. 

Explore the Virtual Peel Park for yourself by following this link or scanning the barcode below: 

Digital Sustainability Articles  

These are some of our favourite articles on digital sustainability from the last month:   

  • How Sustainable is AI? – A blog article from James Martin discussing the environmental impact of generative AI technologies. The article focuses on the substantial energy consumptions and resource requirements associated with training and inference processes, while also exploring potential strategies to mitigate these impacts and promote sustainability in AI development and usage.  
  • Education Technology Must be Sustainable, Here’s What it Looks Like – Writing for Environment Journal, Jonathan Moore highlights the need for digital sustainability in education settings. The article offers some great practical tips on how organisations can reduce their environmental impact through energy efficiency initiatives, waste reduction programs, data monitoring and embedding environmental considerations into ICT procurement processes.  
  • 4 Paths to Sustainable AI – Writing for CIO, Robert Sheier talks through four considerations which would make AI more environmentally sustainable and the challenges faced in implementing them. 
  • Calculating Cloud VM CPU Carbon Emissions – Sustainability Engineer, Gabi Beyer offers a guide through the complex methodologies of measuring energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the use of virtualised services running on cloud providers.  
  • Empowering Environmental Actions and Activism Through Web Intelligence Urtė Karklienė explores the how “nowcasting” pollution levels and environmental malpractice through data-driven solutions is being implemented by sustainability advocates and climate change activists. The article investigates how the utilisation of data intelligence techniques, such as web search analysis, image searches and web-scraping technologies are being used to shed light on detrimental practices in environmental sustainability. 

Get Involved  

We want to hear from you! Share your comments, suggestions, and digital sustainability highlights. Contact our Subject Specialist for Sustainability, Cal Innes, at 

And don’t forget to subscribe to our DIGITAL-SUSTAINABILITY JiscMail mailing list for future editions of the Digital Sustainability Newsletter.  

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