4IR & SUSTAINABILITY: Introduction


What happens when our children, grandchildren, and future generations find a world depleted of its resources, a world facing devastating consequences of climate change and a world with extreme poverty?

The 4th Industrial Revolution has the potential to make work a lot easier for individuals and businesses, and it also has the potential to widen the gap between the haves and have-nots. As we embrace the new technologies, what are we intentionally doing to bridge that gap?

Historically, most businesses have had goals of profit and shareholder wealth maximization even if it is at the expense of humanity or the planet. If left unchecked, this could continue. We must be intentional about leaving the world better than we found it, and having all humanity live with dignity.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to empower individuals and communities, as it creates new opportunities for economic, social, and personal development. But it also could lead to the marginalization of some groups, exacerbate inequality, create new security risks, and undermine human relationships.” – Klaus Schwab

“We have too large a disparity in the world; we need more inclusiveness… If we continue to have uninclusive growth and we continue with the unemployment situation, particularly youth unemployment, our global society is not sustainable.” -Klaus Schwab

You know about 4IR from my previous series, but what is Sustainability?

The United Nations Brundtland Commission defines sustainability as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. We do not need to reinvent the wheel; we already have common sustainability goals that we can work towards globally called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SDGs are a set of global goals that all Member States of the United Nations adopted in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

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There are 17 SDGs, and they include the following:

  1. No poverty
  2. Zero hunger
  3. Good health and well being
  4. Quality education
  5. Gender equality
  6. Clean water and sanitation
  7. Affordable and clean energy
  8. Decent work and economic growth
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  10. Reduced inequalities
  11. Sustainable cities and communities
  12. Responsible consumption and production
  13. Climate action
  14. Life below water
  15. Life on land
  16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
  17. Partnerships for the goals

Over the next few weeks, join me as we look at how we can marry the two – 4IR and SDGs – to have a more impactful industrial revolution where no one is left behind, including our planet.

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