Data Ethics & Governance: Towards UK Net Zero 2050

Policy Reports

Graduate students from the University College London’s Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy, along with the UK Government’s Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, conducted a project to investigate the ethical dilemmas of opening up data to achieve the UK’s Net Zero targets. The final work is reflected in the report ‘Data Ethics & Governance: Towards UK Net Zero 2050‘. Insights on the benefits and potential ethical risks of key consumer-facing technologies – consumer internet of things, smart meters, electric mobility, mobility as a service, and blockchain – were harnessed from secondary data review as well as qualitative and quantitative data collection, which included interviews with experts from academia, government, industry, and civil society.

The study shows that the use of data and data-driven technologies to further Net Zero without adequate constraints can cause unintended consequences for the privacy, security, and safety of consumers. Therefore, developing and implementing interventions that strike the right balance between minimising risks and amplifying the benefits of data will be key to enabling a sustainable and just transition to Net Zero.