What are the Building Blocks of Sustainable AI, from Design to Deployment?

What are the Building Blocks of Sustainable AI, from Design to Deployment? 150 150 ITCC

On Thursday, 27 June 2024, the IEEE Technology Center for Climate organized a webinar titled “Tackling Sustainability Through the AI Lifecycle” in collaboration with the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence’s (GPAI) RAISE project and supported by Centre d’expertise international de Montréal en Intelligence artificielle (CEIMIA). This webinar, the first in a new series on “AI and Sustainability,” was moderated by IEEE President and CEO Tom Coughlin. It explored AI systems as enabling technologies that can offer solutions for climate-related challenges while also considering their own carbon footprint.

The panel of experts from policy, academia, and industry delved into the building blocks of sustainable AI. While artificial intelligence is often cited as an enabling technology that can offer solutions for climate-related challenges—such as its use in precision agriculture, smart forestry, digital twins for simulating climate scenarios, and natural disaster management—it can also contribute to the problem due to the energy consumed throughout its lifecycle, from the development of AI systems to their deployment and use.

To consider the environmental impact of the AI ecosystem, it is critical to discuss how to move towards sustainable AI to preserve natural resources, meet climate goals, and comply with emerging regulations.


  • Tom Coughlin, 2024 IEEE President and CEO (Moderator) – Full biography.
  • Arti Garg, Head of Technology Strategy & Evaluation and Senior Distinguished Technologist, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Johannes Kirnberger, Policy Advisor, AI & Sustainability, OECD, and Member of the OECD Expert Group on AI Compute and Climate. Full biography
  • David Rolnick, Assistant Professor and Canada CIFAR AI Chair, McGill University and Mila, Co-Founder and Chair, Climate Change AI
  • Lee Tiedrich, OECD and GPAI AI Expert, Senior Adviser to International Safety Summit reports, GPAI RAISE co-lead, and Duke University Professor. Full biography.

Watch Our Webinar to Learn More About the Following Questions:

  • What are the building blocks of sustainable AI?
  • What changes is the industry currently undertaking to consider environmental factors in the design and deployment of AI?
  • How does access to data impact AI’s environmental footprint?
  • Is sustainable AI just about energy efficiency?
  • What is the role of renewables in sustainable AI?
  • What are regulatory frameworks and compliance requirements?
  • What are the implications of open-source AI?
  • What is the role of standards and other governance tools?
  • What are some risks and challenges?

On this last point, the audience of 150+ attendees highlighted the following keywords in a live poll:

Tip: check out our Blog section where these questions will be addressed in future posts and register for our alerts to receive updates when we publish!

Also highlighted during the event is the need for global standards in the field of sustainable AI and the work led by the OECD Expert Group on AI Compute and Climate. The new P7100 standard was introduced, focussing on metrics on the environmental impact of AI, which is the first standardization project to be led by an international organization.

About the Webinar Series on AI and Sustainability

The “AI and Sustainability” webinar series is a continuation of our previous collaboration with Reuters Events on “Empowering the Green Tech Revolution.” The series explores how sustainable AI is essential to harness the benefits of technologies like generative AI while safeguarding our environment and finite resources.

About the organizers

The IEEE Technology Center for Climate supports partnerships with leading institutions to advance pragmatic technical approaches and solutions to climate change. The Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) is an international initiative established to guide the responsible development and use of artificial intelligence in a manner that respects human rights and the shared democratic values of its members. Centre d’expertise international de Montréal en Intelligence artificielle (CEIMIA) is an organization contributing to the development and implementation of high-impact projects in responsible artificial intelligence.

Contribute to Our Survey

In connection with the webinar, a survey on Tackling Sustainability Through the AI Lifecycle was launched to answer key questions related to how industry and other organizations within the AI ecosystem address the issue of sustainable AI throughout its lifecycle. The survey is open until the end of July, and results will be communicated on ITCC and our LinkedIn page, please follow us to receive alerts.