“Tech & Sustainability: Everyone's Included” forum explores the role of technology in sustainable development
[Shenzhen, China, July 8, 2021] Huawei held a "Tech & Sustainability: Everyone's Included" forum, co-hosted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Representatives from Huawei, IUCN, the World Economic Forum, the CDP, Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), and Singapore Institute of International Affairs participated to discuss the role of technology in driving sustainability and building a more inclusive, eco-friendly world.
At the forum, Huawei also released its 2020 Sustainability Report and announced its Seeds for the Future Program 2.0, through which Huawei plans to invest US$150 million in digital talent development over the next five years. This program is expected to benefit more than 3 million additional people. Huawei also released its Innovation: Blood, Sweat and Dreams documentary series, which pays tribute to technological innovators and conservationists.
Promoting equal access to education and talent development
In the digital economy, digital talent is playing an increasingly important role in driving digital transformation and economic growth, leading to many asking how we can drive equity and quality in education and foster more skilled digital workforces.
"Digital skills and literacy are not just the foundation for the digital economy; they are also a basic human right defined by the United Nations," said Huawei's Chairman Liang Hua at today's forum. "Today we are announcing Huawei's Seeds for the Future Program 2.0. As part of our commitment to continuously developing talent, we will invest US$150 million in this program over the next five years and help college students and young people improve their digital skills. This program is expected to benefit more than 3 million additional people."
Huawei is committed to helping develop digital talent in the countries where it operates. In 2008, Huawei began to roll out talent development programs, through scholarships, technology competitions, and digital skills training, and has invested more than US$150 million in these programs. Huawei has since benefited more than 1.54 million people from over 150 countries.
Huawei's Chairman Liang Hua speaks at the Tech & Sustainability: Everyone's Included forum
According to a 2020 report by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), about 2.2 billion people aged 25 years or younger still lack internet connections at home. This has undoubtedly exacerbated the digital divide plaguing many of the world's most vulnerable. Speaking at the Forum, Ban Ki Moon Center for Global Citizenship Board Member and former UNESCO Director-General, Ms. Irina Bokova highlighted this concern saying "The digital divide impacts women more than men. Women have less access to the internet and this gap is widening. Women are now four times less likely than men to be digitally literate and represent just 6% of software developers. 170 years are needed to close the economic gender gap between men and women."
Huawei's Senior Vice President of Global Government Affairs, Ms. Afke Schaart, also spoke at the event about how digital technologies will play an integral role in promoting inclusiveness and equality, saying, "From our 2020 Sustainability Report, you can see that Huawei had launched programs like HUAWEI4HER and TECH4HER to help women improve their ICT skills and promote gender equality across the industry."
Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) Senior Advisor and Mission Innovation's Net-Zero Compatible Innovation Initiative Head, Mr. Dennis Pamlin pointed out that digitalization has greatly reduced the cost of education and information access, and digital solutions will help transform education systems worldwide. Online teaching has already become the new normal, creating new opportunities for global education systems.
Panel Discussion: Promoting equal access to education and talent development
Addressing environmental challenges and enabling green development
Climate change and environmental issues are becoming global challenges. Though carbon emissions declined over the past year due to the economic slowdown and worldwide lockdowns, emissions are rapidly rebounding as economies reopen. Shifting to a circular economy and achieving sustainable development is now a common goal for all countries.
"Green and sustainable development has become a top priority for global economies," said Liang. "Huawei has been leveraging its extensive experience in power electronics and energy storage as well as technical expertise in 5G, cloud, and AI, to develop its digital power business and provide digital power solutions for different industries. As of December 2020, Huawei's digital power products and solutions have generated 325 billion kWh of electricity from renewable sources, and saved a total of 10 billion kWh of electricity. These efforts have resulted in a reduction of 160 million tons in CO2 emissions."
ICT technologies are important enablers of energy conservation and emissions reduction in other industries. It is estimated that the reduction in carbon emissions in other industries enabled by ICT technologies will be 10 times the amount of carbon emitted by the ICT industry itself. Tao Jingwen, Huawei's Board Member and Chairman of its Corporate Sustainable Development Committee, said, "Huawei is committed to promoting green integrated ICT solutions to help other industries conserve energy and cut emissions. We are playing an active role in building an energy-efficient, eco-friendly low-carbon society."
During his speech at the forum, IUCN Director-General, Dr. Bruno Oberle emphasized the role digital technologies can play in conserving biodiversity and protecting threatened species, saying, "Can we find a balance and harmony between humans and nature? Yes, we believe so and technology can be an important part of the solution and can help us solve global challenges if used correctly and smartly." Since 2020, IUCN and Huawei have worked together on the Tech4Nature project, which aims to conserve nature globally more efficiently with digital technology.
Big data will also play a key role in carbon emissions verification. Paul Dickinson, Executive Chair of environmental charity CDP, pointed out that digital technologies make carbon footprints traceable and will guide industries in achieving their carbon emissions reduction targets.
Panel Discussion: Addressing environmental challenges and enabling green development
Other industry leaders present at the forum included World Economic Forum Managing Director, Dominic Waughray; GeSI's Global CEO Luis Neves; Singapore Institute of International Affairs Chairman and Singapore National Environment Agency Former Chairman, Mr. Simon Tay; and member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum, Mr. Sean de Cleene.
Link to the Tech & Sustainability: Everyone's Included forum:
Link to the Huawei 2020 Sustainability Report:
Link to the Innovation: Blood Sweat and Dreams documentary series: