Of the three sustainability dimensions measured in the index, the social and economic indicators correlate more closely with increasing ICT maturity than the environmental indicators, as socioeconomic progress typically increases the environmental footprint.
Looking ahead, it is expected that technology will be a critical enabler in securing the necessary decoupling of continued socioeconomic progress with environmental degradation. Different technology in transportation and buildings, as well as carbon-neutral energy production, are examples of how innovations in new technology are increasingly pushing development in this direction. Moreover, on an industrial level, intelligent transportation, smart electricity grids, interactive e-health, and individualized e-learning are some of the ICT solutions that bring much-needed socioeconomic progress under the new condition of diminishing society’s environmental impact. Equally, ICT can bring new innovative opportunities for social entrepreneurship by enabling the inclusion of groups previously left outside banking, insurance systems, health care systems, and the labor market.
As cities invest in ICT, it is both appropriate and reasonable to make a long-term prediction of the relationship between cities’ environmental performance and ICT maturity. Our prediction is that the current scattered correlation will evolve into a picture where ICT is increasingly intertwined with environmental performance.