Huawei released its 2020 Sustainability Report and announced the Seeds for the Future 2.0 program, through which the company 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.
During the “Technology and Sustainability: Universal Inclusion” forum, co-organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Huawei also presented its documentary series Innovation: Blood, Sweat and Dreams, which pays tribute to technological innovators and conservationists.
Representatives from Huawei, IUCN, the World Economic Forum, the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) participated in the event to discuss the role of technology in driving sustainability and building a more inclusive and environmentally friendly world.
Promoting equal access to education and talent development
In the digital economy, digital talent plays an increasingly important role in driving digital transformation and economic growth, so how can we promote equality and quality in education and promote the development of more competent digital workforces?
Huawei is committed to helping develop digital talent in the countries in which it operates. In 2008, Huawei began implementing talent development programs, including scholarships, technology competitions and digital skills training, which have since benefited more than 1.54 million people in over 150 countries. Huawei has invested more than US$150 million in such programs.
At today’s forum, Liang Hua, President of Huawei, announced the implementation of the Seeds for the Future 2.0 program with the following words: “Digital literacy and digital skills are not only the foundation of the digital economy, but also a fundamental human right as defined by the United Nations. The Seeds for the Future 2.0 program is part of our ongoing efforts to develop talent and, through it, we will invest $150 million over the next five years and help university students and young entrepreneurs improve their digital skills. This program is expected to benefit more than 3 million additional people.”
According to a 2020 report by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), some 2.2 billion people aged 25 and under still do not have an Internet connection at home. There is no doubt that this situation has exacerbated the digital gap that affects many of the world’s most vulnerable. During her speech at the forum, Irina Bokova, board member of the Ban Ki-moon Center for Global Citizens and former Director-General of UNESCO, drew attention to this problem by stating that “The digital gap has a greater impact on women than on 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 account for only 6% of software developers. It will take 170 years to overcome the economic gender gap between men and women.”
Huawei’s Senior Vice President of Global Government Affairs, Afke Schaart, also participated in the event with a speech focusing on the integral role that digital technologies will play in promoting inclusion and equality: “In our 2020 Sustainability Report, it is on record that Huawei has implemented programs, such as HUAWEI4HER and TECH4HER, with the aim of helping women improve their ICT skills and promote gender equality in the industry.”
Senior advisor at the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and head of Mission Innovation’s Net-Zero Compatible Innovations Initiative, Dennis Pamlin, highlighted the fact that digitization has greatly reduced the cost of education and access to information, and that digital solutions will help transform education systems around the world. Online learning has already become the new normal, creating new opportunities for global education systems.
Addressing environmental issues and enabling green development
Climate change and environmental issues are becoming global challenges. While it is true that carbon emissions declined over the past year as a result of the economic slowdown and confinements around the world, emissions levels are rebounding rapidly as economies begin to restart activity. The paradigm shift towards the circular economy and the achievement of sustainable development are now common goals for all countries.
“Sustainable and environmentally friendly development has become a top priority for global economies,” Liang said. “Huawei has leveraged its extensive experience in the field of power electronics and energy storage, as well as its know-how in terms of 5G, cloud and artificial intelligence, to develop its digital energy business and provide digital energy solutions for different industries. By December 2020, Huawei’s digital energy products and solutions have generated 325 billion kWh of electricity from renewable sources, saving a total of 10 billion kWh of electricity. These efforts translate into a reduction of 160 million tons of CO2 emissions.”
ICT technologies are an important enabler of energy conservation and emission reductions in other industries. It is estimated that the carbon emission reduction enabled by ICT in other industries will be 10 times the amount of carbon emitted by the ICT industry. Tao Jingwen, board member and chairman of Huawei’s Corporate Sustainable Development Committee, said, “Huawei is committed to promoting green integrated ICT solutions to help other industries conserve energy and reduce emissions. We are playing an active role in the development of a low-carbon, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient society.”
Speaking at the forum, IUCN Director General Dr. Bruno Oberle highlighted the role that digital technologies can play in biodiversity conservation and the protection of endangered species, saying: “Is it possible to achieve a balance between humans and nature? We believe so. Technology can be an essential part of the solution and, if used correctly and intelligently, can help us solve global challenges.” Since 2020, IUCN and Huawei have been collaborating on the Tech4Nature project, which aims to protect nature globally and more effectively through the use of digital technology.
Big data will also play a key role in verifying carbon emissions. Paul Dickinson, chief executive of environmental charity CDP, noted that digital technologies facilitate carbon footprint traceability and will serve as a guide for industries to reach their carbon reduction targets.
Other industry leaders participating in the forum included Dominic Waughray, managing director of the World Economic Forum; Luis Neves, global CEO of GeSI; Simon Tay, president of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs and former chairman of Singapore’s National Environment Agency; and Sean de Cleene, member of the World Economic Forum’s Executive Committee.
Link to the Technology and Sustainability Forum: Universal Inclusion
Link to Huawei’s 2020 Sustainability Report:
Link to the documentary series Innovation: blood, sweat and dreams: