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How tech can drive us towards a sustainable future


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 Emerging tech represents a double-edged sword when it comes to the environmental crisis. On the one hand, the current energy consumption of the global ICT sector is estimated almost equal to the emissions of the civil aviation industry. On the other hand, emerging tech has the potential to improve energy demand and efficiency, optimise mobility and transport flows, and contribute to closing the materials cycle. 


A 2019 Global Enabling Sustainability (GeSI) and Deloitte report shows that emerging tech could positively impact 103 of the 169 targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Below we collected a list of the impact tech trends and their contribution to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, taken from our recent report: Risks and opportunities of emerging tech in the climate decade’.


  1. No poverty

The digital economy is helping many low-income people access financial services for the first time, a pivotal step in helping people out of poverty.


  1. Zero hunger

ICTs help farmers improve crop yields and business productivity through better access to market information, weather forecasts, and training programmes.


  1. Good health and well-being

Big Data can help produce snapshots, analyse trends, and make predictions about disease outbreaks, health service usage, and patient knowledge, attitudes, and practices.


  1. Quality Education

Mobile devices now allow students to access learning assets anytime, anywhere, helping break down economic barriers, and gender and rural-urban divides.


  1. Gender Equality

Digitalisation enables women to gain a stronger voice in their communities, their government and at a global level, as well as providing new opportunities for women’s economic empowerment.


  1. Clean Water and sanitation

ICTs are fundamental for smart water management, facilitating measurement and monitoring water supply, and ensuring the equitable and sustainable extension of water, sanitation and hygiene services.


  1. Affordable and Clean Water

Smart grids, smart buildings, smart logistics and industrial processes are helping transform the world towards a more sustainable and energy efficient future.


  1. Decent Work and Economic Growth

Digital skills have already become a prerequisite for almost all forms of employment, transforming the way business is being done and creating new employment opportunities.


  1. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Digital infrastructure is the backbone of our digital economy. 5G will become an essential infrastructure for the 21st-century due to its capacity to power industry and innovation.


  1. Reduced Inequalities

Connectivity allows refugees and internally displaced people to contact family members, to let them know they are safe, and to stay in touch with the situation back home.


  1. Sustainable Cities and Communities

Emerging tech presents options for managing cities more effectively and holistically through smart buildings, smart waste management, intelligent transport, etc.


  1. Responsible Consumption and Production

Emerging tech contributes to increased dematerialisation and virtualisation as well as innovative applications enabling sustainable production and consumption.


  1. Climate Action

Satellite monitoring plays a crucial role in earth monitoring, sharing climate and weather information, forecasting, and early warning systems to better adapt to the effects of climate change.


  1. Life Below Water

Big data can be used to analyse short and long-term trends in terms of biodiversity, pollution and ecosystem evolution, and to plan mitigation activities.


  1. Life on Land

Satellite-based monitoring delivers timely and accurate data on biodiversity on a global basis, while local IoT sensors deliver on the spot terrestrial updates in real-time.


  1. Peace Justice and Strong Institutions

The growing use of open data by governments increases transparency, empowers citizens, and has an important role in crisis management, humanitarian aid and peacebuilding.


  1. Partnerships for the Goals

ICTs accelerate economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability, as well as providing innovative and effective means of implementation in today’s interconnected world.


Digitalisation is quickly becoming essential in the fight against climate change and achieving the SDGs. For further information and a more detailed version, we invite you to download and read our ‘Risks and opportunities of emerging tech in the climate decade’ report.