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Technology investments could reduce cost of UN Sustainable Development Goals by US$55 trillion, according to Force for Good Initiative Copy

Global Association for ESG

9 Jan 2023

With the world currently failing to pursue and fund the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), the Force for Good Initiative today reveals that technology can help bridge this gap by up to 40% and lay the foundations for future prosperity.

  • Technology and connectivity for those most in need could reduce the cost of UN SDGs by up to 40% to 2030, with recession, pandemic and the war in Ukraine having raised costs

  • In the long-term, these investments could also lay foundations for more inclusive global growth, boosting average per capita income globally to that of South Korea by 2060

  • Analysis of 100 leading tech companies shows commitment to action in critical areas, but long- term investments must continue to be prioritised amidst global uncertainty


With the world currently failing to pursue and fund the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), the Force for Good Initiative today reveals that technology can help bridge this gap by up to 40% and lay the foundations for future prosperity.

The SDGs, a collection of global benchmarks designed to spur action on important factors influencing prosperity such as the environment, education, equality, health, and governance, have a deadline of 2030 for completion.

With nearly 100 million more people living in extreme poverty since 2019, the SDGs' progress runs the risk of being undone by global shocks. Approximately 210 million more people are suffering from severe food insecurity, 100 million more children are not reading at grade level, and 270 million individuals are categorized as migrants, with the number of migrants expected to reach one billion by 2050.

According to a new research by Force for Good, investments in key areas can significantly minimize the widening financing gap, making it probable that technology will determine whether the UN SDGs can be achieved:

Utilizing current digital technology to promote global connectivity might help achieve up to 20% of the SDGs while saving more than US$30 trillion.
Targeting innovation at particular objectives in the fields of healthcare, finance, and education might improve the impact by up to 40%, increasing the total amount saved to almost US$55 trillion.

Technology may be able to triple the world's GDP by 2060, boosting per capita income to levels comparable to South Korea now, if more fundamental, longer-term breakthroughs take place, such as the development of a clean, abundant energy source that can replace fossil fuels in all applications.

"Given its basic influence and revolutionary potential, technology has a vital role in driving the SDGs and human security over the near- to medium-term, too," says Ketan Patel, chair of Force for Good. For the UN and other international organisations, the emphasis on money and the financial institutions that manage money has assumed top priority. While money is important, technology will probably determine whether many of the objectives can be achieved.

Wherever innovation is most needed, technology businesses will have a crucial obligation to scale up their efforts. Analysis of 100 business titans reveals widespread financial commitment in important fields, such as:
60% of big data analytics initiatives and 85% of AI initiatives being pursued by IT executives.

57% of executives are utilizing smart grid technology, while 64% of leaders are developing efforts in Internet of Things technologies.
The leaders in the sector are investing in 46% and 37%, respectively, technologies that would amplify or create other realities, or investing in technology that could transform and democratise finance.
Only 17–23% of industrial executives are publicly engaged in technologies related to material science and gene-based medicine, which remain relatively specialized fields.

According to Jon Miller, a former chairman and chief executive of AOL Inc. and a member of the Force for Good Advisory Council, "Successful firms are already looking ahead to the next opportunity, especially in times of volatility and upheaval. These results are a wake-up call for the IT industry, which, despite current challenges, is still essential to achieving inclusive, sustainable growth for all.

The paper suggests a number of project emphasis areas to help advance alignment with the UN SDGs, including protecting the environment and reducing environmental harm, managing transition-related disruptions, maintaining peace, and fostering resilience.

(Source : ESG News)

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