It is becoming the core area of focus for industries, corporations, tech giants, investors, and governments. People across the globe are either directly or indirectly affected by climate change. The gravity of the issue can be estimated from the various UN reports which indicated that climate change can lead to dire consequences ranging from food scarcity to active war zones across the globe.
The earth has gone through different phases of evolution so does humans. From the basic shelter in caves to the complex world of artificial intelligence and space science, humans have evolved a lot. This evolution journey observed practices that ultimately proved to be deleterious for human lives. It laid the foundation of the linear economy. Consequently, our food and air are toxic, clean water is depleting and inequality is burgeoning at an unprecedented rate. Now the world is realizing and waking up to make things better.
The world is largely off-track in terms of progress and actions on sustainable development goals. All stakeholders must realize and work for the collective goods to change the current trajectory. All the business executives, governments, researchers, philanthropists, activists agree that the pace of progress is not satisfactory. Considering the mentioned UN reports and other think tanks’ research work, the urgency is real. It is imperative to make sustainability at the core of every business plan to make an impact that can alleviate the lives of millions of people across the globe.
The 2019 Social Progress Index (SPI) report concluded that although progress has been made in certain areas. However, with the current pace, the likelihood of meeting the SDGs will be possible somewhere in 2073 which is 43 years later than the expected set date of 2030. Further, Study conducted by the World Economic Forum revealed that the public has the predilection to support those actions which are more concerned with immediate human needs. African, Asian, and South American countries are particularly lagging in the food, water, health, and energy sector as compared to global standards. It has been observed that in some countries there is not enough money to complete the projects of public good and the financial hurdle is one of the biggest hurdles.
Technological innovations are the best hope for us. The latest innovation in clean energy has played a key role in a paradigm shift that even the oil-rich countries like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE are going green. There have been many positive initiatives since the adoption of agenda 2030. According to the UN report out of 110 nationals voluntarily review during 2016-2019, 35 mentioned explicit measures to link SDGs to their national policies. In 2019 mayors of 40 metropolitan gathered in Copenhagen to show commitment to the implementation of SDGs in their respective countries. Copenhagen is destined to become a carbon-neutral city by 2025. In the Asian region, Singapore is an excellent example of a pro-active approach to making cities more sustainable. China is shifting to electric vehicles and clean energy in-spite of high dependency on coal. Exploring sustainable food options will provide support to food producers, provide the impetus for innovation and technological solutions coupled with healthy communities leading to a healthy planet. To achieve all these goals, we need to change our approach from linear to circular business models. Circular business models are the ones in which nothing goes to waste and system output is input to another system leading to the sustainable growth of all sectors. Succinctly stating it is all about system efficiency and optimizing the SDGs solutions to check all the boxes. People are still suffering due to lack of food, absence of basic health care, and energy.
In conclusion, I would like to say that investing in technological solutions can lead to collective success and achieve sustainability. All we need is a comprehensive set of strategies that extends to all the aspects of life on this planet. These SDGs are not mutually exclusive and push all stakeholders to adopt an integrative approach for the implementation. The integrative approach is the essence of all these SDGs. For example, progress in achieving SDG 1 No poverty, has direct and indirect positive impacts on 5 other SDGs which include health and wellbeing (SDG3), Quality Education (SDG4), Gender Equality (SDG5), Clean water and sanitation (SDG6), and potentially also leads to reduced inequalities (SDG10), which exhibit the innate integration of SDGs.
The world is looking for initiatives to design and refine policy decisions. The UN charter for Sustainable Development Goals ask for society to Mobilize at three levels which include, Global, local and people’s actions because solutions can be replicated, customized, and improved to achieve the various goals across all sectors. We are witnessing the fragility of our system in which a virus reduced business to nothings in a matter of days. We must decide to step back from the brink and trust technology that has saved us before and will do much more for our future.
Personally, I applaud anyone who puts the environment first. I salute anyone who cares that humanity has enough food and that the planet can continue to feed us for generations to come. I am thrilled every time I see entrepreneurs who develop technologies that increase energy output from natural sources, technologies that streamline the supply chain from the field to the consumer while reducing pollution and waste and I only wish there would be more environmental entrepreneurs in the world.