In a world of finite resources, how do we ensure our economic, environmental, and technological systems are actually sustainable?
In this InTechnology video, Tom and Camille talk with Dr. Wayne Visser, Fellow at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership. They get into the convergence and sustainability in tech, the methods for measuring sustainability practices, as well as how changes in sustainability are made over time due to social pressures.
Convergence and Sustainability in Tech
In the context of sustainability in tech, Dr. Visser explains convergence as trends or forces that reinforce one another, also called positive feedback loops, which reinforce one another and hence accelerate a change. The change, in this case is, of course, sustainability.
Our world’s resources are incredibly limited. When it comes to tech, the convergence of sustainability finds itself, particularly in hardware, software, and machines—and how they can improve our lives. Yet from the Industrial Revolution to the Great Acceleration and now the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), technology continues to play an important role in sustainability in terms of environment and even social equity.
Technology itself is neutral, so how we use it is crucial for sustainability.
How to Measure Sustainability
As more and more companies are cloaking themselves in “green-ness” in an effort to project sustainability, how can they be held accountable for those sustainability practices? Dr. Visser shares how sustainability can be measured via both qualitative and quantitative means, but that the quantitative means must be clearly defined.
Efforts to quantify sustainability on a global scale have included the Global Reporting Initiative, Future Fit Benchmark, Measuring Stakeholder Capitalism from the World Economic Forum, and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) frameworks. Each method has its benefits and drawbacks, but Dr. Visser stands by the Future Fit Benchmark as the most comprehensive of them all.
Enacting Change in Sustainability
Change is never quick, and that’s true even for sustainable practices in technology. While most companies today focus on economic profit over social and environmental leadership, it’s still possible for tech companies to give in to increasing societal norms for sustainability. The pioneers of sustainability at the corporate, government, and even consumer levels are enough to lead the change.
Dr. Visser shares how sustainability needs to grow beyond the niche into the mainstream and how we’re already starting to see the changes take root today. Companies, governments, and the majority of consumers may resist these changes at first, but the accumulating pressure over time from sustainability pioneers will eventually lead to even greater changes in the future.
Dr. Wayne Visser, Fellow at Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership
Defining himself as a “pracademic,” Dr. Wayne Visser has developed his career as a writer and speaker on thriving, regeneration, sustainable transformation, and integrated value. He is the author of 41 books, including his latest Thriving: The Breakthrough Movement to Regenerate Nature, Society, and the Economy.
Dr. Visser now serves as a Fellow at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership as he works with organizations to apply theory to practice in topics like sustainability. He is also a Professor at the Antwerp Management School and Director of the Kaleidoscope Futures Lab.
Beyond his academic endeavors, you can learn more about Dr. Visser’s works on his website, his very own podcast Thriving: The Breakthrough Movement, and through his many published articles such as “The Six Great Transitions to Regenerate Nature, Society, and the Economy”.
#convergence #sustainability #4IR
The views and opinions expressed are those of the guests and author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Intel Corporation.
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