Sunday, April 14, 2024

Leveraging on people and technology to create sustainable progress


Sustainable progress is no longer a new concept, for it has gained prominence as distinct and identifiable for businesses, communities and the planet at large. People play a vital role in developing sustainable solutions that address complex challenges that affect society and the environment. By leveraging the strengths of people, organizations can delve into an abundance of insights and knowledge of people’s talents and skills, which can be used to create sustainable solutions. Additionally, technology has not only changed our habits but can improve our daily lives and create a more sustainable future, as recognized by the recent report of the United Nations on the importance of technology in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Through the combination of both people and technology, businesses can develop new innovative solutions to address sustainability challenges.

People are the primary drivers of climate change because human development habitually poses risks to a sustainable future for the environment ranging from overpopulation, soil degradation, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and depletion of natural resources. The impact on the environment has triggered climate change due to the rapid increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to the overdependence on fossil fuels and the increase in land use for rearing livestock and planting due to the types of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. As a consequence of climate change, this has led to volatile weather patterns and poor air quality. Despite people being the driving force behind climate change, they are equally capable of mitigating the negative impact of skills and abilities to create solutions to the challenges we currently face.

On the other hand, technology can be considered an enabler of sustainability progress, for it creates room for advanced levels of productivity and efficiency as well as reduce waste production. Technology plays a crucial role in aiding to solve complex problems that are bound to arise in the near future. Companies have leveraged technology to minimize their carbon footprint, for they are able to scale up the technology, share resources, eliminate tangible assets, reduce the total cost of ownership of information technology, and enable new solutions for optimized logistics and buildings all to have an impact on global carbon emissions. Hence organizations can leverage technology through the use of renewable sources of energy and develop a sustainable supply chain to promote sustainable progress.

To create sustainable progress, leveraging both people and technology can lead to optimally achieving a sustainable future. The following are ways in which leveraging people and technology to create sustainable progress.

  1. Circular economy: Leveraging on both people and technology, has led to the development of the circular economy model which ensures the resources utilized are kept in the economy for the longest time possible thus reducing the amount of waste generated. This economic model is ideal because it reduces the emission of greenhouse gases due to minimal waste generated and mitigates the exhaustion of natural resources due to resource independence whereby the local resources that are kept in the product lifecycle for the longest time possible.
  2. Sustainable agriculture: Advancement in digital technology has reshaped agriculture in terms of productivity, precision, and prediction. Therefore the right combination of technology allows farmers to use water or fertilizers adequately. Moreover, the use of digital sensors assists in monitoring the growth patterns of crops, cattle movement as well as the PH levels of the soil, and based on the data obtained, farmers can make adjustments when necessary. The combination of both technology and people improves soil quality and reduced the release of greenhouse gases.
  3. Smart buildings: Smart building technology is tailored to the specific individuals and the activities they perform in the building. Sensors in these smart buildings gather data on the use of the building, these data are then used to control the climate installation, sun protection, lighting, security, and other systems as efficiently as possible. Smart building systems interact with one another and learn from the data they gather in order to anticipate and optimize future processes and better the user experience, which is solely based on the input by the individual. Therefore leveraging both people and technology reduces costs and dependence on fossil fuels.
  4. Use of renewable energy: technology enables the creation of energy production such as electricity or heat by using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. Energy production is achieved with advanced technologies that convert the energy captured from the sun and wind into energy sources. Combining the efforts of both technology and people is vital to creating sustainable progress for people are able to use their skills and expertise to design the renewable energy infrastructure, whereas the technology captures and converts energy into renewable sources thus minimizing the use of fossil fuels as well as the amount of greenhouse gas being released into the atmosphere.
Dr. Edward Mungai
Dr. Edward Mungai
The writer, Dr. Edward Mungai, is a global sustainability expert. He is the Lead Consultant and Partner at Impact Africa Consulting Ltd (IACL), a leading sustainability and strategy advisory in Africa. He is also the Chief Editor at Africa Sustainability Matters. He can be contacted via

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