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  • andrea 6:18 am on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Agenda 2030, , , , innovation, , technology   

    Business-as-usual won’t deliver the SDGs 

    The new Sustainable Development Goals, or (SDGs) set out a shared global agenda for human development with several bold objectives to be achieved by 2030, including poverty eradication and universal coverage in health, education and modern energy services. Meeting these global ‘stretch’ goals calls for transformation that is deep and fast—a rate of change that a Business-As-Usual (BAU) approach simply won’t deliver. As well as much greater engagement of the private sector, to meet the global goals governments will need to mobilise all the tools they can—technology, investment, policy and partnerships—as key means of implementation to deliver a step-change in trajectory.

    ICT—information communication technology—is one sector that’s rising to the challenge and a new report from Ericsson and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, launched last week at WEF Africa and co-edited by One Stone, shows what can happen when an industry sector gets behind the global goals.


    According to the report, the key accelerator technology that can get us off the BAU path is ICT— notably mobile broadband—which has experienced the fastest, most global technology uptake in human history. Continued rapid innovation across the Internet of Things, advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and big data will drive further gains across the entire global economy in the near future.

    Projections by Ericsson Mobility Report show that by 2021 mobile broadband (3G or above) will cover more than 90 percent of the world’s population, leaping from almost one billion subscribers in 2010 to 7.7 billion subscriptions. It is this staggering ability to scale fast, the report argues, that will help to ‘connect the unconnected’ and reach the ‘last mile’ to deliver unprecedented social and economic inclusion by 2030.

    The crux of the report is that ICT—especially mobile broadband—will be the essential infrastructure platform for the SDGs. Specifically, ICT has immense potential to speed up and scale—or increase the rate of diffusion of—a wide range of cutting-edge technologies, applications and platforms across the global economy, helping low-income countries to leapfrog to achieve key development milestones while contributing to growth. Significantly, it can also dramatically reduce the costs of service delivery.

    To achieve the SDGs ICT needs to be combined with innovative policies, services and solutions to deliver transformation at unprecedented speed and scale. It can be a powerful means of implementation in five major ways:

    1. Accelerated upscaling of critical services in health, education, financial services, smart agriculture, and low-carbon energy systems.
    2. Reduced deployment costs.
    3. Enhanced public awareness and engagement.
    4. Innovation, connectivity, productivity and efficiency across many sectors.
    5. Faster upgrading in the quality of services and jobs.

    To show the potential of ICT to drive progress on the SDGs, the report summarises lessons to date and explores the future outlook for four key areas:

    • Financial Services
    • Education
    • Health
    • Energy

    The groundbreaking case studies featured in the report show that the breakthroughs needed to drive and accelerate progress beyond Business-As-Usual (BAU) to meet the SDGs are already in operation, albeit on a small scale. The exciting hallmark of ICT is that it makes rapid scale-up of today’s demos to tomorrow’s national programs both feasible and realistic. In each case ICT offers potential for widespread, accelerated uptake by:

    • Reducing the unit costs of service delivery;
    • Expanding the range of services that can be offered;
    • Economizing on scarce resources (e.g. by upskilling local workers online); and
    • Accelerating institutional learning through online communities.

    The main policy conclusion of the report is that to make the leap from BAU to an SDG path and deliver on the 2030 vision, governments need to equip the entire public sector—including service delivery in finance, education, health, energy and transportation—with high-quality ICT infrastructure. What can your industry sector do to drive progress beyond Business-As-Usual on the global goals?

    You can download the full report ICT & SDGs: how information technology can accelerate action on the SDGs here.






  • Fran 7:51 am on October 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: B Corps, , B Lab UK, innovation, , Scottish Government,   

    B the change 

    There’s so much more to being a B Corp than certification. Of course we’re delighted about the recognition we and other founding B Corps have in the UK, but actually our real excitement is around the lasting pleasure and value of being part of this innovative, energetic community.

    And what a bunch! I have it on good authority – from B Lab co-founder Bart Houlahan himself – that the September 24th launch of the movement in the UK was the most successful yet. Held at the packed Proud Galleries in Camden, North London, it combined an epic party with music, dancing, drinking and ‘ringing the bell’ to celebrate the 62 newly certified members of the UK B Corp community.

    It's official - One Stone is re-certified!

    It’s official – One Stone is re-certified!

    Fellow B Corps inspired us with their challenging business ideas. Michele Giddens explained how impact investor Bridges Ventures enables sustainable innovation and returns for investors by supporting entrepreneurs who want to deliver social benefit. James Rutter from Cook turned conventional wisdom on flaccid convenience food on its head, and introduced us to Cook’s delicious, high quality and low impact frozen meals for busy people. And Matthew Boyes explained how social networking site streetlife makes the world wide web local by reconnecting neighbourhoods and people.

    There was hushed anticipation as Paul Polman – by video link from New York – announced that he will be setting up a B Corp group for multinationals. Quite an undertaking. Getting certified as a small company is a challenge, for huge ones it’s a bona fide expedition.
    B Lab Scotland red v2

    And led by Bart Houlahan, a small band from the B Corp community made another kind of trip North the day after the launch. Scotland is a country committed to prosperity with fairness, and the Scottish Government has set objectives to underpin its core purpose in five areas: wealthier & fairer; healthier; safer & stronger; smarter; greener. The potential overlap between Scottish Government policy and the aims of B Corps is good, so we invited Bart to introduce the B Corp concept to a roundtable of senior civil servants, business people and the social enterprise community. We enjoyed an engaged and lively discussion, Bart was brilliant and our plan to build a thriving B Corp community in Scotland received a huge boost.

  • andrea 10:34 am on February 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , carbon, , innovation, , politics, ,   

    Age of the Corporate Climate Activist 

    It’s not often you hear a giant in sustainability issue a call to arms. But at a recent Global Compact event on his first visit to Australia that’s exactly what Bob Massie did.

    The fight in question? Equipping ourselves with the right frameworks, mindsets and leadership skills to deal with the climate challenge.

    In the face of trials like global warming our institutions are failing us. On some fronts—like rooftop solar—we’re doing pretty well but not on the scale or timeframe we need. Urgency is missing. We’re simply not moving fast enough and our political institutions are paralysed by vested interests.

    Recalling the milestone 1970s book Future Shock by Alvin Toffler, Bob underscored how the speed of change today far outstrips the ability of human institutions to adapt and respond. The result is that on virtually every front we need to rethink how we do things—from energy generation and creation of economic value to democracy itself.

    The amazing Bob Massie. It's time for us all to be climate superheroes.

    The amazing Bob Massie. It’s time for us all to be climate superheroes.

    Bob Massie is a seasoned veteran in corporate responsibility. He was president of Ceres—the largest coalition of investors and environmental groups in the United States—co-founder and chair of the Global Reporting Initiative, and the brains behind the Investor Network on Climate Risk, which counts over 100 members with combined assets of over $10 trillion. He’s been in the game a long time and can see that the window of opportunity to be proactive on climate is closing fast.

    “I’ve been in this 25 years. Back then it was ‘there are going to be long-term extreme events.’ Now we’re experiencing them. Suddenly we’re facing real costs. We have to rethink, plan for the massive structural changes needed to deal with the climate challenge.”

    He’s in good company. Last year’s Risky Business report from US establishment behemoths Michael R. Bloomberg, Henry Paulson and Tom Steyer catalogued the significant economic risks of a carbon bubble and staying on the current emissions path. As well as action at local and corporate level, governments need to set consistent policy and regulatory frameworks to shift the global economy away from carbon-intensive industries and investments.

    “The global future of coal is grim,” Massie insisted. “Look at China, look at India—they’re unlikely to be long-term markets for coal. Even Goldman Sachs is saying ‘treat it like someone who’s reached their 65th birthday—tell it to go off and have a quiet retirement.’ But we have to ask how do we manage that shift?”

    Government’s job is to plan ahead: if jobs in threatened industries go, what are we going to do? What’s the plan? We can’t avoid change—and neglecting these issues is only going to make them worse. We have to ask ourselves if our system of government is really up to the task.”

    The biggest barrier, in Bob’s view, is mental—a failure of imagination—because the potential economic opportunities around climate change boggle the mind. You only have to look at distributed energy to see that we can apply our incredible reserves of human energy and ingenuity to rethink the world, rethink the basic structures of the past 50-100 years.

    So how do we engage that mindshift and galvanise the necessary political will? For Bob Massie it’s a numbers game. “If you want politicians to lead you have to form a parade and they will find their way to the front. We have to form parades. The future of climate change is in our hands. We live in the most important piece of human history ever. What we’re able to do will determine what our planet becomes. We have to act now to make sure those outcomes are good.”

    Time for business to bring out the banners and hit the streets.

    • africa Zanella 9:38 pm on February 21, 2015 Permalink

      This man is a titan of strength and moral values .I had the pleasure of listening to him speak at the GRI Amsterdam conference VIP dinner .after many speeches, some wine and the customary hard work , i was “zonning out ” or going into meditative state as I like to do to rest the mind when I heard his voice singing a gospel song …..wow ! that was the beginning of his speech and story as to why he cofounded GRI and he held me in alert and hanging to each of his words . One bright idea after another and a mix of emotion and rationality that you could not help to admire .He crosses over from imagination to implementation like nooone i have ever seen ..adding inspiration and leadership to its mix …Business and government are all part of the society so I believe that this broader focus rather than the monolithic separation of roles is required for the climate change issues to be worked out .Sorry I missed his visit to Australia

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