Talking about the improvements in technology often raises controversial debates. Without it, we would still risk for our lives any time we catch a cold. Technology enabled us to reach a level of comfort that we are all familiar with. We now have access to an insane amount of information, we have switched most of the hard work to machines, and generally we made life somewhat easier than before. However, those advances also pushed for mindless production, an economic boom for some countries followed by a massive movement of consumerism. Most of the developing countries aspire to reach the same levels of “stability” and wealth, which is totally unsustainable. But, since the word sustainability has left the association with the hippy movement and is increasingly starting be embedded in new and existing businesses, solutions are being found.
According to the Guardian, many of the World Economic Forum’s top 10 most promising technologies have a clear environmental and social focus, such as energy-efficient water purification, enhanced nutrition to drive health at the molecular level, carbon dioxide (CO2) conversion, precise drug delivery through nanoscale engineering, organic electronics and photovoltaics. For all those business and engineering students that feel like they are too cool for caring about sustainability, you would be surprised to know that there is being significant investment in research and development linked to sustainability. This means that a new market for sustainability-related job is raising. And is becoming more and more attractive.
Technology can enable the eco-innovation process, where products, processes and organisational structures are modified to achieve sustainable performance and competitiveness. Eco-innovation aims at tranforming the business model while reinventing capitalism. We can reach a closed loop economy based on sharing, rather than throwing. This could be easily be achieved through an app or a “smart system”.
Technology has enabled humans to do things that were unthinkable a century ago. But it is time to use it wisely. We have enough knowledge to develop technologies that will allow our cities to be smart, our production systems to be efficient and sustainable and our economies to prosper.
We are the next generation that can if not completely change, at least reverse the change into a more sustainable way of doing business and using technology, let’s make use of this opportunity!