Tech for Good leads us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and navigates through the uncharted territory of technological advancements. We are at the precipice of the Tech for Good movement and global business leaders must use technology as a force for good. Although former Industrial Revolutions brought significant global progress, the cost of human ingenuity has come at a high price. After decades of overstretching our planet, we are now facing extreme consequences as the world battles climate risks, suffers societal inequalities, and experiences biodiversity losses.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution presents an opportunity to create the change we so desperately need. Combining business and technology as a catalyst for driving global progress, Tech for Good emerges as a guiding force that steers us in the right direction. Business has the influence and power to lead and therefore has the responsibility to do so. With renewed purpose and positive impact, companies are already paving the road toward a sustainable future.
Yet, despite this progress and promising forward movement, the proliferation of tech innovations to address our global challenges is lagging. So how can we move faster to solve our world’s environmental and social problems? How will we create solutions at scale that make a difference?
Taking Charge of Technology in a Challenged World
The framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals gives Tech for Good a framework for implementation. These Global Goals serve as a basis for how the immense potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be vital to addressing our major challenges – such as poverty, climate change, nature loss, and inequality. We currently only tap into a fraction of this potential. The enormous promise of Tech for Good, both for the world as well as for business, is clear. New technological applications make it possible to leverage sustainable impact at scale, and at the same time seize exciting market opportunities. With a purpose-driven approach to the way technologies are deployed, businesses will undoubtedly play a crucial role in perpetuating worldwide progress. By fostering a shared value business model and building trust in technological breakthroughs, businesses will gain a competitive advantage.
Businesses are emerging as the chief protagonists of change by seizing market opportunities arising from tackling the Sustainable Development Goals. Coalitions between diverse sectors and advanced technologies are also inspiring a new revolution. These phenomena illuminate the far-reaching impact of business. When we consider that the world’s top corporations continue to accrue revenues that outpace those of most governments, it becomes abundantly clear just how much influence business has become. Globally, 69 of the richest 100 entities are corporations, not countries. The top ten corporate revenues, including Walmart, Shell, and Toyota, all exceed $3 trillion. It is relevant to note that today’s largest companies are mostly tech or tech-driven. Colossal annual revenues of tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Netflix carry significant weight in the global marketplace.
Now more than ever, power comes with an important responsibility. Corporate boards, CEOs, and senior executives must use their power as a force for good. Dominant companies need to be purpose-driven and action-oriented, while at the same time employing the accelerating power of technology to meet the prevailing socio-ecological targets of the Global Goals. All businesses, big or small, have a role to play and multi-stakeholder initiatives must come forth for cohesive and effective global action.
Tech for Good Winning the Financial Prize
It is imperative for all businesses to maintain a core philosophy that strives for positive impacts on the Global Goals. We need nothing less than full business integration of this innovative spirit fostering comprehensive, interconnected, and sustainable solutions. Fortunately, taking radical action toward maintaining a healthy planet comes with a reward – a huge financial prize. New sustainable growth markets jointly represent more than $12 trillion in opportunities by 2030. The Business and Sustainable Development Commission’s research on global markets found that specific business opportunities arise within four broad domains: cities, food and agriculture, energy and materials, and health and wellbeing. These findings revealed that just 15 of the 60 largest opportunities account for half of the $12 trillion in prizes. As an additional benefit, unlocking these markets also creates a projected 380 million jobs a year by 2030.
Technological developments are not only limited to a specific sector. As Fourth Industrial Revolution tech trends permeate all facets of society, new products and services span diverse growth markets. This has led to lines between sectors blurring in an era when organizations become more tech-savvy and apply a variety of relevant advanced technologies. We see this amalgamation of progressive innovations in disruptive shapes and forms across sectors such as fintech, agritech, and carbontech. Along with incorporating the benefits of technology in every sector, we also want to do it in an ethical, purpose-driven manner that creates more value for the planet, profits, and people. This trend suggests that tech applications will be accelerated when embedding sustainability into the foundational structure of business development.
The purpose of Tech for Good is to imagine the unprecedented possibilities advanced technologies offer businesses to drive sustainable growth. Although many companies are aiming to make sustainable leaps with internal leadership – within their teams and balance sheets – one step forward would be to foster more partnerships and joint ventures. Business collaborations present opportunities to combine knowledge, competencies, and networks that merge sustainability and tech. Such collaborative systems would mean connecting with a larger, collective network that will operate at the scale, volume, and rate of change necessary to overcome global challenges.
Tech for Good presents a unique perspective on how businesses can successfully apply advanced technologies in a purpose-driven manner while unlocking new markets and seizing business opportunities. Packed with 75 real-life business cases of companies from all over the world, Tech for Good unfolds an inspiring narrative about how businesses commercially synergize technology and sustainability. Tech for Good will be vital for realizing our Global Goals.