By Carol A Adams
Höttges made a case for digitization as a means of decoupling resource consumption from economic growth and gave examples of how digitization had reduced energy and natural resource consumption. It allows us to revolutionise the way energy is produced and distributed, reducing energy consumption. Soil sensors linked with data analysis help farmers produce more and reduce water consumption. But he warned that e-waste is a growing problem with take back programmes only getting a tiny proportion of old mobile phones. Deutsche Telekom is taking digitization opportunities seriously investing 20% of its 2016 revenue in infrastructure to facilitate digital participation.
Digitisation will increase transparency
Georg Kell, former founding executive director of the UN Global Compact charted the growth of corporate attention on CSR and sustainability predicting that focus on Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) will increase and that finance will increasingly go to more responsible companies. He identified four megatrends addressing the limitation of traditional finance: the increasing valuation of natural resources available to companies; the evolution of value chain concepts; the increase in regulation to protect natural resources; and, the big one, the increased emphasis on transparency that comes with digitisation.
With all the talk of increased transparency as a result of digitization, the issue of credibility was raised and the need for non-financial assurance highlighted. Daniel Schmid, Chief Sustainability Officer of SAP discussed how they clarified which non financial information had been assured with KPMG putting a symbol on web pages where the information was assured.
Corporate action on the SDGs
A video message delivered by David Nabarro, Special Adviser to the UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, reinforced the transformation ahead pointing to the critical role of business in translating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into corporate action. Luis Neves, Climate Change and Sustainability Officer for Deutsche Telekom later discussed a range of technologies DT are developing in order to contribute to the SDGs.
Women and CSR
The first panel discussion of eight people was striking in that Elaine Cohen was the only woman, a point she noted did not reflect that women make 85-90% of purchasing decisions, now increasingly made through digital means. As a mother, she also drew attention to the dangers of the digital, online world for children and children’s rights [Continue reading]