Partnering for Purpose: Technology Powered Networks Leading Change
Much has been written about the ways in which technology can be used to drive not just efficient businesses, but ethical ones. The spotlight is squarely on emerging and disruptive applications and the impact they can have on the world. But what is often overlooked is the true engine behind these things succeeding: partnership.
Around the world, there’s an increased urgency to solve some of society’s biggest problems among businesses and consumers alike. With over 3 billion people globally lacking access to waste management, 48.5 million individuals enslaved today and over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans, the sheer magnitude of what needs to be tackled is daunting.
Technology alone, no matter how innovative, can’t solve all these problems. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child. The same can be said when it comes to driving purpose. Digital networks are powerful communities that connect like-minded people who share common values, visions and goals. And there is tremendous strength in the collective ideas of these communities and their ability to bring about change.
Take business networks. Though sometimes thought of as merely a way for buyers and sellers to connect to do business, business networks can enable companies to find trading partners who not only support their operating and cost objectives, but also their sustainability goals. Buyers can, for instance, identify diverse suppliers or tie their costs to conscience and purchase from businesses that align with causes that matter to them.
And when these networks are surrounded by an ecosystem of partners, additional innovations can be brought to the table and quickly unleashed to drive more sustainable supply chains and ethical business. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) like the Sustainability Consortium, Billion Dollar Roundtable and others tied to specific industries such as consumer goods and high tech are a great example of this. In connecting stakeholders such as policy makers, social workers and social entrepreneurs with enterprises that share a common purpose and have the resources to address them, it can effect real change.
In September 2015, world leaders adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aimed at creating sustainable prosperity for all in emerging and developed regions. Three years later, many companies are beginning to embrace these goals, committing their people and products to do things like eradicate slavery from supply chains and document every living creature on the planet to protect endangered species. SDGs are also in place that intend to end deforestation, promote environmental awareness, eliminate gender inequality and educate people who might never have been inside a classroom. This is the power of partnership. And a testament to the fact that when united by a common cause and enabled by technology, businesses – and the people behind them – can do amazing things.
Next month, we’ll hear from some of the leaders and technologists driving change through these networks and the partner ecosystems surrounding them.