Innovation in new digital technologies and business models has been identified by CEOs as a critical requirement to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Over 1000 CEOs were surveyed for The United Nations Global Compact-Accenture Strategy CEO Study 2016. 97 per cent believe that sustainability is important to the future success of their business, with 75 per cent of CEOs saying that digital technologies enable more sustainable business models.
In addition, 87 per cent of the CEOs surveyed say the SDGs represent an essential opportunity to rethink approaches to sustainability.
“These CEOs acknowledge digital technologies will play a key part in this transformation, redefining competitiveness in many industries. Managed in the interests of both business and society, digital advances make it possible to unleash radical innovation to create value and deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” said Peter Lacy, managing director at Accenture Strategy.
A recent report by GeSI, #SystemTransformation: How digital solutions will drive progress towards the sustainable development goals, published in collaboration with Accenture Strategy, shows that ICT sector companies could gain USD 2.1 trillion in additional annual revenue by 2030 from services that directly contribute to SDG achievement, which includes USD 400 billion per year from connecting 2.5 billion people by 2030. Moreover, USD 1.7 trillion could be realized from digital services such as e-Commerce (USD 580 billion), e-Work (USD 537 billion), smart buildings (USD 200 billion), e-Government (USD 86 billion), and online learning (USD 75 billion).
Widespread deployment of ICTs – which are recognized as a key means of achieving the SDGs by the UN (in SDG#17) – will greatly contribute to all three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. For example,
- Boosting equitable growth: Digital solutions like the Internet of Things and robotics can help bring economic benefits of up to USD 1 trillion by supporting industries such as smart manufacturing and smart logistics (SDG#9)
- Improving people’s lives: 1.6 billion people could benefit from more accessible, affordable and better quality medical services through e-healthcare, while connected road vehicle solutions could save up to 720,000 lives annually and prevent up to 30 million traffic injuries (SDG#3)
- Protecting the environment: Digital solutions could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive market transformation for renewables, cutting carbon emissions by around 20 per cent in 2030 (SDG#13)