EU countries with advanced ICT sectors and information societies perform better on sustainable development

EU countries with advanced ICT sectors and information societies perform better on sustainable development

EU countries with advanced ICT sectors and information societies perform better on sustainable development, with high-speed broadband at the core of progress. A recent EU ICT-Sustainable Development Goals Benchmark, produced by ICT leader Huawei in collaboration with think tank SustainAbility and with support from leading European business network CSR Europe, compiles clear evidence that the digital revolution can help communities in Europe become more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Ranking EU countries on the maturity of their ICT sector and achievements on six SDGs, the benchmark highlights connections between the two in a number of fields and presents case studies illustrating how technology helps to solve concrete challenges. The link is particularly strong for those goals that focus on industry performance, innovation and gender equality.

Examples include:

– Smart production systems linking intelligent machines with data sources and workers, shortening innovation cycles and raising productivity in Germany.
– Wireless sensors placed in public bins in 10 European countries to determine at what rate they fill up, cutting emissions created by transporting waste.
– A certified mobile app offering women a natural alternative to hormonal contraception using a precise algorithm.

“The strong connection between sustainable development and ICT sector development in EU countries indicates significant potential for success in both areas. As digital transformation in Europe gathers speed, it is vital that we continue to invest in those technologies with the strongest impact on sustainable development – broadband, cloud, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and big data,” stressed Charles Ding, President of European Public Affairs and Communication at Huawei. He called for collaboration and a focus on skills development, to reap the benefits of digital investment in the long run.

Stefan Crets, Executive Director of CSR Europe, highlighted the importance of businesses as drivers of the efforts to achieve these goals: “It is crucial that businesses take a leading role in the transition towards a more sustainable society, and that they dare to transform their business from within,’ he said. ‘We are delighted to see that more and more companies are starting to tackle the SDGs and take responsibility for these developments.”

Rob Cameron, Chief Executive of SustainAbility, commented: “Achieving the SDGs will require new breakthroughs in both the pace and scale of ICT deployment. Such breakthroughs will depend upon collaboration across sectors and outstanding leadership from both the public and private sectors. This report not only points to pathways forward, it demonstrates Huawei’s commitment to the SDGs and its willingness to show leadership in achieving the 2030 goals.”

Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Germany and France came out as leaders of the benchmark with the highest combined performances in ICT and sustainable development.

While all digital technologies present opportunities to advance sustainable development, case studies demonstrate that high-speed broadband will be core to achieving breakthrough progress. “While connectivity levels are high in the EU, much remains to be in done in this area to improve access, levels of use and general digital skills of the population,” the report points out.

Presented at the third edition of the Sustainability and Innovation Conference, held in Brussels on 12 October and organised by CSR Europe and Huawei, the benchmark builds on the methodology for Huawei’s global SDG report released earlier this year, which highlighted a correlation between sustainable development progress and ICT on a worldwide scale.

The Brussels Times

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