Research & Innovation

Digital Disruptions for Sustainability (D^2S Agenda)

The Digital Disruptions for Sustainability Research Agenda (D^2S Agenda) explores the opportunities and challenges of leveraging the digital age to disrupt the facets of existing economic, governance, and cognitive systems that are maintaining society on a carbon-intensive and increasingly inequitable path. We identify research and innovation opportunities and near-term actions needed to enable society to steer the digital disruptions already underway to drive transformations to a sustainable, climate-safe and equitable world.

Tackling the climate crisis and working towards a just and equitable digital future are inherently interconnected agendas that require collaborative effort. The D^2S Agenda was developed with input from over 250 people around the globe.

Cover image from D^2S Agenda Report. Left half is dark teal colour. Right half is an image of a climate action march with a foreground image of a placard thar reads: "System Change NOT Climate Change."

Download Report PDF: D^2S Agenda

Cite as: Sustainability in the Digital Age (SDA). 2020. Digital Disruptions for Sustainability Agenda (D^2S Agenda): Research, Innovation, Action. Future Earth.

Cover for peer-reviewed article on Leveraging Digital Disruptions for a Climate-Safe and Equitable World: The Dˆ2S Agenda: [Commentary] published by IEEE Technology and Society Magazine

Cite as: A. Luers et al., “Leveraging Digital Disruptions for a Climate-Safe and Equitable World: The Dˆ2S Agenda: [Commentary],” in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 18-31, June 2020, doi: 10.1109/MTS.2020.2991495.

Key Insights

Two powerful forces are shaping human destiny: global climate change and the digital revolution. Both are human creations that pose systemic risks to society. The changing climate is driving systemic shifts that threaten to destabilize the health and wellbeing of humankind. Big data, digital platforms, and artificial intelligence are rapidly transforming society in ways that pose systemic risks to the global social fabric. But fortunately, the digital age also presents systemic opportunities for driving the large-scale societal transformations needed to build a climate-safe and equitable world.

Illustration of the four digital disruptors leading to a climate-safe and equitable world.

The D^2S Agenda identifies four digital disruptors that are already driving transformations in social and economic systems. It is unclear where these transformations will lead society. They pose many risks for humanity and the planet. They may also hold the power to help society achieve a sustainable and equitable path to net-zero emissions. But this can only happen if researchers, tech innovators, policy and business leaders, civil society, and citizens collaborate together to consciously steer these digital disruptions to drive transformations to a sustainable, climate-safe, and equitable world.

In the D^2S Agenda we propose examples of questions, experiments, and actions to disrupt, steer and scale economic systems, governance systems and cognitive systems towards an inclusive digital future.

Online coverage: The D^2S received coverage in 55 different media outlets, 19 countries, and 7

A short video to illustrate the underlying premise of the Sustainability in the Digital Age initiative and the D^2S Agenda. (Co-produced with ClearPath):

Expert Advisory Committee

Valérie Bécaert
Director of Research and Scientific Programs, Element AI

Anik Bhaduri
Executive Director, Sustainable Water Future Program; Associate Professor, Griffith University

Nick Beglinger
Co-Founder and CEO, Cleantech 21 Foundation

Mark De Blois
CEO and Founder, Upande

Owen Gaffney
Global Sustainability Writer and Expert, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Dan Hammer
CTO, Earthrise Alliance

Tom Hassenboehler
Partner, The Coefficient Group; Executive Director and Founder, EC-MAP

Ravi Jain
VP Search Science and AI, Amazon

Lucas Joppa
Chief Environmental Officer, Microsoft

Lyse Langlois
Professor, Université Laval; Director, International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technologies (OBVIA)

Mats Linder
Founder and CEO, MLSH Consulting

Kevin Mo
Managing Director, The Paulson Institute

Mathilde Mougeot
Professor, École Nationale Supérieure d’Informatique pour l’Industrie et l’Entreprise (ENSIIE) & Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)

Per Olsson
Researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre

Renata Piazzon
Executive Manager of Climate Change, Arapyau Institute

Valerie Pisano
President and CEO, Mila

Asunción Lera St. Clair
Senior Advisor, Barcelona Supercomputing Centre – BSC + DNVGL Digital Assurance

Gina Ziervogel
Associate Professor, University of Cape Town

With support from

FRQ logo
Climateworks Foundation logo
UK Research and Innovation logo
Cifar logo
Mitacs logo
CNRS logo
Mila logo


Sustainability in the Digital Age logo
Future Earth logo