Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI)

More informed and purposeful development and deployment of digital technologies will catalyse progress on the Sustainable Development Goals

Key Messages

This report explores how the development and deployment of digital technologies can catalyse progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It finds that digital technologies are having a powerful impact, but that they can and need to contribute more. Only through a commitment to digital with purpose can the ICT sector and its partners deliver a sustainable future.

View the Key Messages

Impacts

To understand the impact of digital technology on the SDGs, this report sets out new findings for a selection of priority SDG targets. Building on currently observed impacts and expected adoption rates, the potential contribution of digital technologies is projected to 2030 and compared to a business as usual scenario in which the adoption of digital technology is held constant.

Coming soon

Drivers

This report explores how digital technologies can be deployed to drive impact against the SDGs across four impact functions: (i) Connect & Communicate, (ii) Monitor & Track, (iii) Analyse, Optimise & Predict, and (iv) Augment & Autonomate. These impact functions have been used to articulate the key drivers that link the deployment of digital technology to impact on each SDG, all informed by real world examples.

Coming soon
Jeffrey D. Sachs

“Digital technology is the great lever to move the world towards sustainable development. In this bold and important report, GeSI and Deloitte provide a powerful perspective on how ICTs and the digital sector can help lead the global transformations to create a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable world.”

Jeffrey D. Sachs

University Professor at Columbia University, and Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Christiana Figueres

“The call to address climate change could not be more urgent. Leaders need to take bold action, and we all need to follow. This report helps us understand how digital technologies can play a role in the transition needed. That role can be hugely impactful, but needs us to subscribe to the 2030 Agenda, to better understand how our actions impact the world, and to be alert to the promise digital technologies hold.”

Christiana Figueres

Former Executive Secretary, UN Climate Convention & Founding Partner, Global Optimism

Georg Kell

“Decarbonisation and digitalisation are key drivers of the big market transformation needed to safeguard our future. This report demonstrates how ICT companies can harness technological change as a force for good and deliver solutions for the 2030 Agenda.”

Georg Kell

Founder and former Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact and Vice Chairman of Arabesque Partners

Veerle Vandeweerd

“This report illustrates the transformative impact of ICT on the implementation of the SDGs. It makes a clear and cogent case for the ICT sector to come together to deploy, at scale, digital technology for positive impact. G-STIC shares the aspirations set out in this report to promote market ready, innovative technological solutions that substantially can contribute to the SDGs, in a social, economic and environment acceptable and feasible manner. We look forward to working with our partners in doing so.”

Veerle Vandeweerd

Policy Director, Global Sustainable Technology and Innovation Conference Series

Carlo Jaeger

“Climate change and digitalization are two of the biggest drivers of change in the 21st century. With this pioneering effort, GeSI begins to connect the two, showing ICT companies first steps towards creating a future of hope in the face of daunting global challenges.”

Carlo Jaeger

Co-Founder and Chairman of the Global Climate Forum (GCF) and Professor at Potsdam University, Germany

Paul Dickinson

“Climate change is the defining challenge of our times. As discussed in this report, digital technologies can help in multiple ways including through de-materialisation and travel substitution. Maximising the abatement potential and minimising direct emissions needs to be a primary priority for both users of digital technology and the ICT sector.”

Paul Dickinson

Co-founder and Executive Chair of CDP

Dame Elizabeth Corley DBE

“This report has three critical messages for investors: the need to align investor strategy to the SDGs, the broad role digital technology can play in catalysing progress towards the SDGs, and the need for impact transparency. It adds up to great opportunity, but also the need to do things differently.”

Dame Elizabeth Corley DBE

Vice Chair, formerly CEO and managing director, of Allianz Global Investors

Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner

“Artificial intelligence, virtual realities, automated decision making systems will change our societies profoundly and impact any dimension of the SDGs. This report is aiming at creating the missing links between digital revolutions and sustainability transformations.”

Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner

Director, United Nations University - Institute for Environment and Human Security / UNU – EHS

Dr Chris Tuppen

“The role of digital services in delivering the SDGs is clear. The challenge is to do this whilst delivering ever more bandwidth for less waste and lower carbon emissions.”

Dr Chris Tuppen

Advancing Sustainability Ltd

Lise Fuhr

“Facts and figures in this report show that an extensive uptake of digital networks and services will speed up the achievement of the SDGs. As 5G is being rolled-out across the world, its adoption can help traditional sectors to empower societies and dramatically reduce their environmental footprint. Public policies can help by promoting extensive adoption of the latest technologies, including fibre connectivity, 5G and digitally enabled services.”

Lise Fuhr

Director General, European Telecommunication Network Operators’ Association

Hans Vestberg

“I wholeheartedly endorse the Global e-Sustainability Initiative's call for the global information and communications technology sector (ICT) to 'accelerate the benefits and limit the downsides' of our work for the sake of a sustainable future. As someone who has long believed in the great potential of ICT to accelerate the shift toward low-emission economies, I hope GeSI's report motivates companies across our industry to step up to the immense responsibilities and opportunities of this moment.”

Hans Vestberg

CEO, Verizon

John Legere

“T-Mobile is changing wireless for GOOD – and that includes following through on our commitment to social and environmental responsibility! We’re making huge strides forward in our pledge to use 100% renewable energy by 2021 -- but that’s just the start! As this report shows, new digital technologies like IOT and 5G will play a tremendous role in empowering communities to be more sustainable. T-Mobile is ALL IN on continuing to be a leader in building that future for everyone!”

John Legere

CEO, T-Mobile

Lori Lee

“The report highlights how the ICT sector, through the development and deployment of innovative technologies, has the opportunity to lead on delivering the SDG Agenda and making a meaningful impact on society. At AT&T, making a difference in the communities where we live and work is a core value. That’s why we are at the forefront of using innovative technologies – from IoT and 5G to the Grind2Energy solution and beyond – to help transform the lives of people around the world and protect our planet.”

Lori Lee

CEO, AT&T Latin America and Global Marketing Officer

Jamie Lin

“The report markedly recognises the criticality of delivering impactful solutions at scale to many of the world’s most pressing problems. In the meantime, it is acknowledged that even the most promising solution needs to be carefully executed in order to maximise its positive impact. Taiwan Mobile's priority is therefore in devising and delivering well thought out programs that speed up the transition to a sustainable world.”

Jamie Lin

President, Taiwan Mobile

Sira Saccani

“Digital technologies need to be developed and deployed with positive societal impact in mind. The report convincingly makes the case for urgent action and more contribution from digital technologies to address the interrelated challenges of sustainable development and climate change. The ICT sector and its organisations shall take a leadership role in building impact transparency, in assuming responsibility to address negative externalities, in working at a systemic level through a clear commitment to embed the SDGs more deeply into their core business and supply chains to become truly transformative.”

Sira Saccani

Theme Director, Sustainable Production Systems, EIT Climate-KIC

John Denton

“We are not currently on track to achieve the SDGs. This must change, and the ICT sector is critical to scaling our collective efforts. I commend GeSI for embracing digital with purpose.”

John Denton

Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce

Birgit Bohle

“The study shows clearly that the ICT industry can make a significant contribution to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At Deutsche Telekom we are building the infrastructure for a better tomorrow: a climate-friendly society with products that enable sustainable lifestyles everyone can #takepart in.”

Birgit Bohle

Chief Human Resources Officer and Labour Director, Deutsche Telekom AG

Urs Schaeppi

“This report demonstrates the tremendous opportunities that digital technologies offer to catalyse real progress towards the SDGs. Swisscom is acting to ensure digitisation is managed responsibly and equitably, to secure the greatest benefit for people, society and our future.”

Urs Schaeppi

CEO, Swisscom AG

Allison Kirkby

“This report highlights the urgent need for action and the opportunity each stakeholder in the ICT industry has to put the world on a sustainable path. At TDC, we view the Sustainable Development Goals as key guides to both ensure that our business creates positive value for society and challenges us to deliver that in a responsible manner. That is why building trust in society is a key pillar of our corporate strategy.”

Allison Kirkby

Group CEO and President, TDC A/S