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We Have the Power to Change the World. Let’s Use It.

Head of Sustainability Dominic Vergine calls on the tech sector to help achieve the UN’s Global Goals

Mother with Talking Book

We are working towards one of the most important deadlines we will ever be asked to meet. In just over ten years’ time, countries, businesses and communities will be evaluated on their ability to address shared economic, social and environmental challenges.

The United Nations’ ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (also known as the Global Goals) seek to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and slow climate change. Arm is working alongside other leading companies to ensure we play our part in delivering the Global Goals. Because while the technology sector may not be able to re-shape the world on its own, it can use its creativity and proven ability to innovate to support and accelerate the development of life-changing initiatives.

The tech sector’s role in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Technology is an important enabler of change and is already transforming our world in ways few of us could have imagined. It is connecting us to people and places, increasing access to goods and services and giving us unprecedented insight into our assets and environment. However, our development timeline means that the work we are doing right now is already shaping life in 2030. We must find a way to ensure these emerging technologies make a positive impact on people’s lives.

This is one of the reasons Arm founded 2030Vision, a cross-sector collaboration that connects businesses, academia, public sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with the innovation and expertise they need to create a sustainable future and achieve the Global Goals. The partnership enables the technology sector to work closely with trusted problem-solvers and global experts. They offer us insight into issues such as access to affordable healthcare, especially in hard-to-reach communities, disruption to economies, societies, and workplaces through robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) and they ensure our young people have the skills and opportunities they need to be the innovators of the future. Then we can employ our ingenuity, and design new technology, specifically for the people it affects.

Technology enables change

An example of this is an audio device developed by Seattle-based non-profit organization, Amplio, which is being used to empower some of the world’s most vulnerable communities and give them the information they need to improve their lives. The Talking Book is designed for people who live in remote areas and have low literacy skills. It contains a library of content, such as health and agricultural information, in their local language and people can access it on demand.

We know the device is making a difference to people in countries such as Kenya and Ghana. A UNICEF survey shows users increased their crop production by an average of 48 percent, while 50 percent were more likely to make positive behavior changes such as using mosquito nets over their bed at night and washing their hands with soap. We’re supporting Amplio in creating a 2nd generation device, powered by Arm technology.

Simprints, a start-up from the University of Cambridge, is fighting poverty through its innovative technology that uses biometrics, an app and the cloud to identify people through their fingerprints. More than one billion people globally do not have official proof of identity. Technology that shows who they are helps them access vital healthcare, aid, finance and electoral voting services.

Meeting the Global Goals unlocks opportunities

Developing technology that addresses critical human needs is, unquestionably, a moral imperative, but research undertaken as part of 2030Vision shows that achieving the Goals will also unlock significant commercial opportunities – an estimated $2.1 trillion in additional annual revenue for the technology sector in 2030.

New digital solutions, including the convergence of artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G networks, could be deployed to make cities, healthcare, logistics, agriculture and industry more efficient and sustainable. This Fifth Wave of Computing, as Arm CEO Simon Segars described it in a recent blog, has the potential to improve people’s lives.

According to Tech Bets for an Urban World, an initiative created in partnership with UNICEF, using IoT technologies to help provide consistent, safe and affordable water supplies to urban communities could reach around 1.5 billion people in developing countries, and generate up to $35 billion.

Companies such as Nairobi-based social enterpriseUpande are already providing smart metering services to local water and sanitation companies in Kenya to help them identify leakages and theft.

More information on the opportunities and challenges for that sector are detailed in our research report.

What can the tech sector do between now and 2030?

If we identify and scale life-changing technologies, and unlock the significant commercial opportunities associated with them, what difference will it make? What are the real-world implications of achieving the Global Goals by 2030?

  • No-one will be living in extreme poverty, which is currently defined as surviving on less than $1.25 a day
  • Safe and affordable drinking water will be available to all
  • No-one will be living in hunger
  • Discrimination against women and girls everywhere will be a thing of the past
  • We will have strengthened our resilience against climate-related hazards and natural disasters

To create this future, we must come together as an industry to develop responsible technologies and use our skills and ingenuity to ensure the rapid advances in digital technology generate opportunities for all.

Learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals and how the technology sector can help to change the world, or support the extraordinary initiatives being developed as part of 2030Vision.

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