Leadership and new technologies crucial for realising SDGs

Special SDG Dome helps to make worldwide problems more comprehensible

Sustainable Development Goals

Organisations in the Netherlands are struggling to make their contribution to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations concrete and to include it in their strategy. This is shown by the PwC study 'Application of the SDGs by Dutch organisations'. Commitment from the top and new technologies such as artificial intelligence can contribute to the realisation of the SDGs.

Commitmens from the top

The report 'Application of the SDGs by Dutch organisations' is an inventory of the way in which companies, governments, social enterprises and charitable organisations deal with the SDGs. “If organisations want to make a serious contribution to the realisation of these United Nations goals, there must first be commitment from the top”, say SDG specialist Linda Midgley and research leader Jenny Bruin of PwC. “The SDGs affect all aspects of business operations and it is the task of the leadership to involve the entire organisation. Our research shows that within organisations there is also a need for a strong and clear ‘tone at the top’. Do not place responsibility for sustainability at the Sustainability department, but at the top. An organisation's contribution to solving the world's problems belongs at a strategic level.”

SDG integration in strategy

Midgley and Bruin are convinced that cooperation and knowledge exchange are important factors in bringing the subject further. “We are still seeing an increase in the number of organisations that are looking concretely at what they can contribute to the SDGs. But the actual integration of the SDGs into the strategy of organisations remains a difficult point, as does the formulation of indicators on which organisations measure their progress. We stress that a contribution to solving problems such as poverty, inequality and climate change cannot be included in a plan that is ready in two weeks. But integrating the SDGs into strategy and business operations is real and feasible.”

"New technology, such as artificial intelligence, offers great opportunities for a more sustainable world. To make the most of these opportunities, increase trust in them and limit risks, tools are needed."

Linda Midgley PwC

Artificial intelligence for a more sustainable world

New technology, such as artificial intelligence, offers great opportunities for a more sustainable world. To make the most of these opportunities, increase trust in them and limit risks, tools are needed to steer their development in the right direction and deal with dilemmas. Midgley: “All kinds of techniques are being developed to make data available. Drones reach places that are difficult to reach, sensors register changes in the environment and 'the internet of things' collects data from homes and the use of devices. If we combine data or have data calculated by algorithms, we can make observations and make decisions on the basis of these. Look further at the way we communicate with each other worldwide, so we don't have to get into cars and planes to talk to each other as much. Smart energy networks can respond to changing energy demand on the basis of data, allowing wind or solar energy to be distributed more efficiently. By digitally labelling products or raw materials, we can follow them through the chain.”

The SDG Dome helps to make worldwide problems more comprehensible

Helping people grasp the urgency of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while simultaneously showing them how new technology can offer solutions to major global issues. For that PwC, Rooftop Immersive Studios, and Energy Upp developed the SDG Dome. The SDG Dome is a domed space that accommodates eight people with a 360° panoramic image of the world displayed on its screen walls, visitors donning VR glasses are taken on a journey. The virtual journey sweeps visitors along the consequences of our actions on the planet, ranging from the destruction of the rainforest, pollution of drinking water to production of cheap goods in sweatshops. figure out ways of achieving the UN’s world goals as quickly as they can. “The SDG Dome has been designed to offer visitors an experience that stimulates all the senses while educating them about the major problems the world faces”, explains Wineke Haagsma, PwC’s Head of Corporate Responsibility. “The Dome also highlights that new technologies offer pathways to solutions and that everyone can play a part. We want to demonstrate that actions by companies, governments, other types of organisations, but also by individual citizens, have an impact. We want to show people that they can exercise social awareness in everything they do. The SDG Dome helps to make worldwide problems more comprehensible and draws them closer to the visitor, thereby also rendering them more specific and manageable."

“The SDG Dome demonstrates that everyone can play a part. This virtual experience helps to make worldwide problems more comprehensible and draws them closer to the visitor, thereby also rendering them more specific and manageable."

Wineke Haagsma Head of Corporate Responsibility PwC

Contact us

Linda Midgley

Linda Midgley

Senior Manager, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 31 99

Wineke Haagsma

Wineke Haagsma

Head of Corporate Sustainability, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 54 24

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