Data is a raw material of our time. Raw materials are usually exploited and used directly in unaltered form, or processed and consumed in transformed form. The same happens with data.

Many European or international organizations strive to act more sustainably and set resource conservation goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure sustainable development on economic, social as well as environmental levels. These efforts include the development of processes and standards for sustainable resource use (e.g.: Renewable Energy Certificate System). Sustainability is also becoming more and more of a focus in the data industry. Currently, however, the main focus is on data quality, federation and collaboration in data exchange. Certifications and standards are still at the beginning of their development.

The aim of this publication is to present the relevant aspects for „green data“ along the entire data lifecycle. It defines questions that need to be answered for a dataset to specify sustainability. This collection of relevant questions forms a basis for the development of metrics and standards to design a green data label. The focus here was on energy efficiency: What form of energy is used? Is sustainable forms of energy being used? Is waste heat used in energy production and use? Are energy-efficient technologies being used?