Friday, 22 July 2011

The SYMPACT project.

I met earlier this week with members of the SYMPACT team at the Folk House in Bristol for lunch.  The SYMPACT project is being led by Dr. Chris Preist and Dr. Mike Yearworth and is being assisted by Paul Shabajee and Daniel Schien, both from the University of Bristol. The SYMPACT project is examining the environmental impact of both print and online media.  As the use of digital media is constantly increasing and shows no signs of reversing or even slowing down, it’s imperative at this relatively  early stage to identify the most environmentally sustainable type of media, (be it paper based  or digital) and push for its wider use.
The University of Bristol has partnered with Guardian News and Media and the University of Surrey’s Centre for Environmental Strategy to build different scenarios models that indicate how the news industry might look in the future, after a greater move towards the use of digital technology. The subject of  behavioural change is also being examined.  In this instance it involves examining the change from the use of paper materials as a source of media to their online equivalent or the uptake of electronic reader devices in place of books.
The questions the SYMPACT projects hopes to answer include; what is the environmental impact of both print and online media? How will changes in technology alter this impact over time? How is digital technology changing customer behaviour now, and how might this happen in the future? What new business models do technological advances open up, and how will they affect the environmental impact? How will environmental factors, such as carbon pricing, act as business and behavioural drivers within this system? Beyond energy and climate, what other sustainability implications might this transformation have?
At the meeting we also discussed the overlap between the SYMPACT project and that of the SUSTE-TECH project, (and indeed the aims of  JISC’s 34 other JISC Greening of ICT projects too). After our meeting, I forwarded onto the SYMPACT team, information and data on how to calculate (and how I derived) the EF of paper in the hope it would prove useful for answering their research questions. As both project’s are looking to reduce ICT’s impact on the environment I’m confident the SYMPACT and SUSTE-TECH project will continue to share ideas and knowledge on greener ICT.
For more information on the SYMPACT prpject, click on the following link

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