Uniting to Deliver Technology for the Global Goals

By Kate Newbury-Helps

2030Vision is a partnership that aims to connect business, NGOs, academia and governments with the technology needed to realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Digital solutions with positive impact on the SDGs could, according to The Business and Sustainable Development Commission, unlock $2.1tn additional annual revenue for the technology sector in 2030. The potential value and impact of digital innovation can only be realised with unprecedented levels of collaboration – which 2030Vision will enable.

From the Internet of Things (IoT) to blockchain, from Artificial Intelligence (AI) to intelligent systems, technology will have profound implications for business and society. Our research for the 2030Vision’s first report highlighted food and agriculture, transport, infrastructure, and logistics and heath as the most promising opportunities for digital technology where commercial interests and global societal needs were aligned.

Food & agriculture

Precision agriculture including the use of drones, robotics, smart equipment, and farm management software can deliver higher agricultural yields with fewer inputs. Technologies that utilise radio-frequency identification (RFID) and big data can improve tracking of shelf-life and quality, helping to minimise food waste. Satellite and ground-based sensors in oceans, rivers and farms can help better predict famines and help farmers with decision-making.

Transport, infrastructure and logistics

Intelligent transport, shipping, and distribution systems including autonomous vehicles and vessels, car sharing, and drones can lower emissions and costs while improving efficiency and safety. IoT and blockchain can enable the traceability and monitoring of complex, global supply chains to expose risks of human rights abuses or unsustainable resource management.


Electronic health records can bring better coordination in healthcare delivery and give patients control over their digital health identities. Sensors can enable collection and utilization of vast amounts of health data which can be analysed using AI to predict health conditions and enable targeted treatment and care. Transparency-enabling technologies can reduce medical fraud and litigation, as well as unethical pricing of drugs and insurance.

Achieving the SDGs will require unprecedented human skill and technical capability. Technology will only remain viable in the long-term if it can combine purpose with commercial outcomes. Any development and deployment of digital technology must be channelled to address the world’s most pressing needs and mitigate the risk that it exacerbates inequality.

About the author

Kate Newbury-Helps


SustainAbility Analyst based in London working across the technology and food sectors. Loves innovation, travel and music.