HOW ICT CAN DRIVE SUSTAINABILITY FORWARD
Third Sustainability & Innovation Conference
The conference brought together over 150 policy and decision makers, and representatives from businesses, cities and NGOs, among others, to discuss how information and communication technologies (ICT) can help EU countries achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Huawei presented a specially-commissioned report at the event, the EU ICT-Sustainable Development Goals Benchmark, which contains clear evidence that the digital revolution can help communities in Europe become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Charles Ding, President of European Public Affairs and Communication at Huawei, said the report highlighted a significant connection between sustainable development and ICT sector development in EU countries. “There is strong potential for success in both areas as digital transformation in Europe gathers speed,” he told participants.
Stefan Crets, Executive Director, CSR Europe, pointed to the areas of improvement detailed in the report. He called on companies to become SDG champions, and highlighted the creation of an SDG-focused network as a major challenge.
“Sustainable consumption patterns, gender equality, access to jobs, climate change mitigation and income equality are all achievable if – and only if – we make full use of the potential put at our fingertips by ICT.” These were the words of keynote speaker Alan Aicken, Chief Sustainability Officer for Huawei’s Supply Chain. Digitisation is a natural driver of sustainable development, he emphasised.
Mr Jyrki Katainen, the European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, used his address to explain EU policies to boost the ICT contribution towards achieving the SDGs. “Most of the EU Member states are still on track to meet the 2030 deadline for implementing the SDGs. However, there is still work to do. This is where ICT and information societies can play a part,” he said.
Seminar on Safe & Resilient Cities
Ahead of the Sustainability & Innovation Conference, Huawei and CSR Europe held a Sustainability Salon focusing on Sustainable Development Goal 11: how to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. This salon brought together 40 people from business, cities, NGOs and policy makers to discuss the drivers and pressure points for using ICT solutions to address urban challenges.
Highlights from the seminar
The participants discussed solutions that could be implemented in five areas of crucial importance for the future of cities: disaster relief and preparedness; inclusive cities and refugees; clean air and health; next generation cities; and mobility.
Rounding off the debates, Holy Ranaivozanany, Global Head of CSR at Huawei, highlighted the need to create an increasingly strong smart and safe city ecosystem as a key take-away. “At Huawei, we are working with thousands of partners in the ICT field and it is through such a strong and vital ecosystem that we have so far been able to provide Smart City solutions to more than 100 cities in over 40 countries and regions,” she said.