The findings of BLOCKCHANCE Online LIVE #2

An analysis of why Blockchain, AI and other emerging technologies will help to fulfill the SDGs and why we call the SDGs the first-ever global moonshot! 

nature landscape
A Vision for the future of the world we are living in.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

Signed by 193 countries, founded in 2015, the SDGs can be called the first-ever global moonshot. Across barriers, ethnicities and continents, the leaders of our world agreed – for the first time – on a vision for the future of the world we are living in.

Moonshot thinking describes a brainstorming technique for radical product and service innovation. The technique aims to enhance a product by factor 10 instead of incrementally improving it. It is mostly associated with emerging technologies.In emerging technology fields we talk about moonshots, Google even has its moonshot laboratory: Google X. But all those technologies differ from what the SDGs are. They are a new paradigm, a new global plan of action into a more desirable future.  

Global plan of action into a more desirable future

To realize how revolutionary an agreement like the SDGs is, one has to look at international agreements where, even though it is just two countries, it is sometimes impossible to find a consensus due to the collision of diverse interests. 

The 17 goals combined create a utopia for a sustainable future. Not only for countries, industries, or people but for the whole world. Marc Buckely, UN SDGs advocate and guest at our last BLOCKCHANCE Online LIVE show draws a picture of the year 2030 if all goals are reached:

Imagine a world where there is no poverty and zero hunger. We have good health and well being, quality education and full gender equality everywhere. There is clean water and sanitation for everyone. Affordable and clean energy has created decent work and sustainable economic growth. Our prosperity is fueled by investment in resilient industry, innovation and infrastructure and that has reduced inequalities. We live in sustainable cities and communities and responsible consumption and production has healed our planet! Climate action has stopped and reversed the warming of our planet and we have flourishing life below water and diverse life on land. We enjoy peace and justice through strong institutions and built long term partnerships for the goals.

For us, that is a world where we want to live! 

A Global Framework for the Economy, Governments and the People

Let us give a few reasons why we need these goals and why people are fighting for it. Hundreds of millions of people still do not have access to clean water, education, sanitation and food. This fact should not surprise you, but it should shock you.

Reaching the SDGs humanity will provide everyone with what Maslow called the physiological needs as well as the security needs.

Sustainable means that the goals are supposed to be around for multiple generations, even if they are reached. They are supposed to be the ground level – a minimum bar humanity is never again going beneath.

The biggest misunderstanding of individuals and corporations with the SDGs is to pick one or maybe even three or four of the goals and try to implement them in their daily lives or business models. We need to understand that the SDGs are the vision of overcoming silos and thinking in a systematic approach to solve issues. 

ESG Offers a Vast Potential for Investors and Corporations

ESG means Environmental, Social Governance and describes the process of evaluation of the entrepreneurial social responsibility and can be defined as a broader term for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The application of the SDGs and therefore the adoption of ESG criteria and their implementation in core business models also offers vast potential for corporations and investors. Especially during Covid-19 but also in many different other crises before, companies with a high ESG standard outperformed their conventional counterparts in 8/10 cases.

Most conventional corporations especially in the energy sector have a natural limit of growth, a shift to a more ESG compliant business model offers the possibility for longer and more sustainable economic growth. Social and environmental governance needs to be integrated into business models to bring more resilience in times of crisis. We are facing a challenging decade of uncertainty where more crises will occur. It is a decade in which the old Darwinistic view of the survival of the fittest will not find application anymore: it will be survival of the most sustainable! 

The US Elections, ID-Cards and Food with Blockchain

Developing sustainable business models is closely tied to the implementation of emerging technologies. Innovative technology lets us keep the speed of change and all SDGs mostly need technology to be reached. 

There are some powerful examples of how technology and especially blockchain could help to fulfill the SDGs. To illustrate the impact of possible blockchain applications we just need to take a look at the 2020 US presidential election. President Donald Trump sowed doubt on the safety of postal votes and is now going to court to try to abandon legitimate votes of presumably democratic postal voters. But how is that even possible? The US has the most advanced and powerful IT industry in the world but they are unable to guarantee an efficient, trustworthy election? 

Do Not Trust But Verify

A blockchain-based, decentralized and trusted system could be the answer, but what we can see is not a lack of possibilities but a lack of will. We need to find a consensus of the majority for solutions like that so the money will flow into it and make it possible. 

Will is the real issue, Blockchain is a tool, but it has to be used! It fails to live up to its expectations because in our economy money flows where there will be the highest return on investment. We need to have a systemic change – money needs to flow where it would achieve the highest impact on human development

Brian Iselin

And there are already powerful solutions: the World Food Program created an application that delivered 87 million meals to 50 million people. Ourz uses blockchain for the traceability and full transparency of food supply chains and worked with Frosta to track frozen fish from catch to the freezer. 

And the Hague University is trying to issue identity claims for everyone. Nearly two billion people around the world do not have a possibility for identification. 21 million of them in the US. Those are people who miss elementary rights, like voting or opening a bank account.

Supply Chains Without Modern Slavery with slavefreetrade

In the UK 75% of all corporations are most likely to have modern slavery in their supply chain and therefore products. Regardless if you want to buy a new phone, clothes or food: most products consumed in the western hemisphere are produced by adults and children labouring in modern slavery.
Living and working in freedom should be a fundamental human right. For the SDGs, you could define human rights as the basis for all goals. 

Living and working in freedom should be a fundamental human right

To free people from slavery it will need time, money, technology and the possibility to trace the supply chains and make them transparent. slavefreetrade created such an application. A system that brings trust into three core relationships where there is no trust: Consumer and retailer, supplier and producer and employer and employee.

The actors either do not know each other or have a different position and therefore differ in their power.  The system of slavefreetrade coordinates those actors providing an independent and neutral platform and makes it possible to prove decent work. They measure and quantify human rights in workplaces in a trustable way and communicate those to people whose decision could be influenced by the information.

Corporations are pretending to have the highest level of human rights in their supply chain – now it is possible to track that. 

The Age of Neoliberalism needs to end

There are many applications and ideas on how to solve the biggest problems of our time. But we need a new way of thinking. We need the age of neoliberalism to end and find a new consensus on collaboration and cooperation. If the goal is not to earn the most money but to have a positive impact, corporations would easily work together. If it is about market shares, the corporations thrive to gain shares and to be better than their competitors but if you work for a better future you would be happy to see a hundred companies like yours that work on a sustainable world.

There are nearly 8 billion people around the world, all with different problems and all problems need different solutions. But the SDGs provide a framework, a minimum level of possibilities everyone should have access to.

But once reached, we are not done, the SDGs are a lifelong journey and there is not a point where we can quit working. 
And we do not even need to reach everyone, we just need the critical mass! 

So let us build the foundation for a desirable future