Protecting the environment

Explore the game-changing potential of digital technologies to reach the seven Sustainable Development Goals aimed at decoupling our ecological footprint from economic growth, ensuring access to clean water, containing climate change, and conserving our ecosystems

Back to goals

The goal

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Digital’s positive impact

Reduce resource consumption, improve energy efficiency and reduce air pollution

Regional progress toward achieving this goal

As of June 2016

Africa

9/100 9% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

26/100 26% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

0/100 0% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

65/100 65% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Asia

12/100 12% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

2/100 2% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

12/100 12% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

70/100 70% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Europe

13/100 13% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

0/100 0% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

25/100 25% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

62/100 62% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Latin America & Caribbean

5/100 5% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

7/100 7% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

3/100 3% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

85/100 85% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Northern America

0/100 0% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

0/100 0% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

50/100 50% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

50/100 50% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Oceania

0/100 0% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

5/100 5% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

84/100 11% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

84/100 84% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

See Global Status for this Goal

Key challenges for cities today

Over 50% of the world’s 7 billion people live in cities, and this is projected to rise to nearly two thirds by 2030

Nearly 90% of the world’s urbanites live in over-polluted cities, according to the WHO

7 million premature deaths per year are linked to poor air quality

5 digital solutions that can transform cities for the better

Car sharing

Car-sharing and car-pooling platforms can be made much more accessible through smart technology which will improve people’s access to transport and also help take cars off the roads.

GPS location-based services

Strides in GPS location-based services are making an electric vehicle network a genuine prospect in the future, and better-designed social media and apps are helping people book rides, organize logistics and generally plan their lives more easily.

Self-driving cars

Combined with smart infrastructure, self-driving cars will help to halve the number of deaths and injuries per year from road-traffic accidents, saving both lives and money for emergency services and transport networks. On a low-growth assumption, there could be nearly 12 million self-driving cars on global roads by 2035.

Smart sensors in traffic

Both driverless cars and connected smart sensors will have a huge impact in optimizing city traffic flow, shortening journeys and saving fuel. Coupled to intelligent infrastructure and real-time big data analytics, a seamless and automatic traffic grid is not beyond our reach. Forty-two billion hours could be saved globally in 2030.

Smart building solutions

Smart buildings solutions include data analytics, automated alert systems, optimized load management, smart sensors and smart metering, making the house an example of the Internet of Things. These technologies can sharply reduce the electricity consumption of buildings, and help tailor them to the time of day/year and the specific needs of their occupants.

See Case Studies Related to this Goal

The business case

GeSI’s analysis suggests that nearly $100 billion of cost savings could be achieved from rolling out smart mobility solutions alone, by 2030. Meanwhile, smart buildings could net total revenues of nearly $184 billion by 2030, and save $361 billion in energy and other building maintenance expenses. The electricity savings alone are estimated as being around 5 billion MWh.

5% global CO2e emissions savings in 2030 from smart building and mobility solutions alone

Back to goals
Back to goals

The goal

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Digital’s positive impact

Enable greenhouse gas emissions reduction and drive market transformation for renewables

Regional progress toward achieving this goal

As of June 2016

Africa

82/100 82% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

7/100 7% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

9/100 9% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

2/100 2% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Asia

62/100 62% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

26/100 26% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

10/100 10% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

2/100 2% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Europe

13/100 13% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

0/100 0% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

25/100 25% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

62/100 62% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Latin America & Caribbean

61/100 61% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

20/100 20% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

7/100 7% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

12/100 12% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Northern America

50/100 50% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

50/100 50% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

0/100 0% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

0/100 0% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Oceania

58/100 58% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

10/100 10.5% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

10/100 10.5% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

21/100 21% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

See Global Status for this Goal

Key challenges about climate change today

By 2016, global emissions of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) have increased by 50% compared to 1990

2.7°C average global temperature rise is anticipated by the end of the century – even if all countries fulfill their current emissions reductions commitments aimed at containing warming to 1.5°C

On a scale of 0 to 100, a recent study scored least developed countries’ preparedness to adapt to climate change at 33 (compared to 69 for developed countries)

5 ways digital solutions can cut greenhouse gas emissions

Energy efficiency and integration of renewable energy

Digital solutions can enable the integration of renewables onto the grid, improve efficiency and heighten transparency. Smart grids, analytics solutions and advanced energy management systems can abate 1.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent (CO2e) by 2030.

More efficient mobility & logistics

Real-time traffic information, smart logistics, intelligent lighting and other ICT enabled solutions could abate 3.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent (CO2e), including abatement from avoided travel.

Smart buildings

By reducing energy consumption, smart building solutions like smart metering, sensors, and the Internet of Things could cut 2 gigatons CO2e from the housing sector.

Smart manufacturing

Digital solutions will place the customer at the center of a user-focused service, cutting resource inputs at the same time. Smart manufacturing, including virtual manufacturing, customer centric production, circular supply chains and smart services could abate 2.7 gigatons of CO2.

Smart agriculture

Smart agriculture not only boosts yields and avoids food waste, but solutions like sensors, tracking systems, automation and optimized farm management could help to abate 2.0 gigatons of CO2e by 2030.

Explore our detailed research related to this goal See Case Studies Related to this Goal

The business case

Taken together, digital solutions can cut over 12 gigatons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) across the global economy by 2030. That would be around a fifth of total global emissions in 2030. This reduces the risk of resource warfare and the displacement of people. Digital solutions can help us stabilize global climatic conditions while also enabling economic growth.

20% reduction of global CO2 emissions (or 12.1 gigatons CO2e) by 2030. This is digital’s potential contribution to stopping climate change.

Back to goals
Back to goals

The goal

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Digital’s positive impact

Improves water use efficiency and helps increasing access to water

Most powerful digital solution:

Smart water management: smart pipes, smart levees, smart meters, soil sensors, remote irrigation management systems, rain water harvesting systems, consumption control apps, e-billing

15% reduction in water consumption by 2030. Digital solutions enable smart water management.

See Case Studies Related to this Goal See Global Status for this Goal Back to goals
Back to goals

The goal

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Digital’s positive impact

mproves energy efficiency and access to more affordable energy and supports to increase share of renewable energies in energy mix

Most powerful digital solution:

Smart energy: smart grid, smart appliances, energy storage, predictive analytics, sensors, demand response technology

1.3 billion Megawatt hours of energy savings by 2030. Digital solutions help us get more out of our energy.

See Case Studies Related to this Goal See Global Status for this Goal Back to goals
Back to goals

The goal

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Digital’s positive impact

Improve production and consumption patterns, enabling the transformation to the circular economy

Most powerful digital solution:

Smart manufacturing: industrial Internet of Things / machine-to-machine (M2M), 3-D printing, cyber-physical systems, data analytics & cloud computing, drones & robotics, embedded system production technology

Smart agriculture: optimized farm management and automated irrigation systems; precision agriculture, including machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, Internet of Things, soil sensors, satellites and integrated real-time weather information; traceability and tracking systems.

20% less pre- and post-consumption food waste by 2030. Digital solutions and smart agriculture make it possible.

See Case Studies Related to this Goal See Global Status for this Goal Back to goals
Back to goals

The goal

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Digital’s positive impact

Improves protection of oceans and water quality

Most powerful digital solution:

Smart conservation: advanced mapping and data analytics; smart sensors; drones; real-time satellite imaging; smart monitoring; real-time weather forecasting

32% of world’s coastal areas could already benefit from smart conservation solutions. Digital solutions can help protect our oceans.

See Case Studies Related to this Goal See Global Status for this Goal Back to goals
Back to goals

The goal

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Digital’s positive impact

Improve protection of nature reserves on land and resource-use efficiency

Most powerful digital solution:

Smart agriculture: optimized farm management and automated irrigation systems; precision agriculture, including machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, Internet of Things, soil sensors, satellites and integrated real-time weather information; traceability and tracking systems.

Smart conservation: advanced mapping and data analytics; smart sensors; drones; real-time satellite imaging; smart monitoring; real-time weather forecasting

251 trillion liters of water saved by 2030. Digital solutions and smart agriculture makes it possible.

See Case Studies Related to this Goal See Global Status for this Goal Back to goals
Back to goals

About Sustainable Development Goal 17

Goal 17 – “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” – is an overarching goal, not attributable to one “impact area,” such as improving quality of life.

Back to goals

The goal

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Digital’s positive impact

Reduce resource consumption, improve energy efficiency and reduce air pollution

Regional progress toward achieving this goal

As of June 2016

Africa

9/100 9% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

26/100 26% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

0/100 0% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

65/100 65% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Asia

12/100 12% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

2/100 2% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

12/100 12% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

70/100 70% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Europe

13/100 13% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

0/100 0% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

25/100 25% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

62/100 62% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Latin America & Caribbean

5/100 5% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

7/100 7% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

3/100 3% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

85/100 85% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Northern America

0/100 0% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

0/100 0% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

50/100 50% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

50/100 50% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Oceania

0/100 0% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

5/100 5% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

84/100 11% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

84/100 84% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

See Global Status for this Goal

Key challenges for cities today

Over 50% of the world’s 7 billion people live in cities, and this is projected to rise to nearly two thirds by 2030

Nearly 90% of the world’s urbanites live in over-polluted cities, according to the WHO

7 million premature deaths per year are linked to poor air quality

5 digital solutions that can transform cities for the better

Car sharing

Car-sharing and car-pooling platforms can be made much more accessible through smart technology which will improve people’s access to transport and also help take cars off the roads.

GPS location-based services

Strides in GPS location-based services are making an electric vehicle network a genuine prospect in the future, and better-designed social media and apps are helping people book rides, organize logistics and generally plan their lives more easily.

Self-driving cars

Combined with smart infrastructure, self-driving cars will help to halve the number of deaths and injuries per year from road-traffic accidents, saving both lives and money for emergency services and transport networks. On a low-growth assumption, there could be nearly 12 million self-driving cars on global roads by 2035.

Smart sensors in traffic

Both driverless cars and connected smart sensors will have a huge impact in optimizing city traffic flow, shortening journeys and saving fuel. Coupled to intelligent infrastructure and real-time big data analytics, a seamless and automatic traffic grid is not beyond our reach. Forty-two billion hours could be saved globally in 2030.

Smart building solutions

Smart buildings solutions include data analytics, automated alert systems, optimized load management, smart sensors and smart metering, making the house an example of the Internet of Things. These technologies can sharply reduce the electricity consumption of buildings, and help tailor them to the time of day/year and the specific needs of their occupants.

See Case Studies Related to this Goal

The business case

GeSI’s analysis suggests that nearly $100 billion of cost savings could be achieved from rolling out smart mobility solutions alone, by 2030. Meanwhile, smart buildings could net total revenues of nearly $184 billion by 2030, and save $361 billion in energy and other building maintenance expenses. The electricity savings alone are estimated as being around 5 billion MWh.

5% global CO2e emissions savings in 2030 from smart building and mobility solutions alone

Explore how smart building and mobility can make our cities better places to live

The goal

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Digital’s positive impact

Enable greenhouse gas emissions reduction and drive market transformation for renewables

Regional progress toward achieving this goal

As of June 2016

Africa

82/100 82% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

7/100 7% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

9/100 9% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

2/100 2% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Asia

62/100 62% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

26/100 26% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

10/100 10% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

2/100 2% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Europe

13/100 13% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

0/100 0% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

25/100 25% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

62/100 62% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Latin America & Caribbean

61/100 61% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

20/100 20% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

7/100 7% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

12/100 12% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Northern America

50/100 50% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

50/100 50% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

0/100 0% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

0/100 0% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

Oceania

58/100 58% of countries in this region face a gap to the goal’s targets

10/100 10.5% of countries in this region face a substantial gap to the goal’s targets

10/100 10.5% of countries in this region have fulfilled his goal’s targets

21/100 21% of countries have insufficient data to provide a status update

See Global Status for this Goal

Key challenges about climate change today

By 2016, global emissions of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) have increased by 50% compared to 1990

2.7°C average global temperature rise is anticipated by the end of the century – even if all countries fulfill their current emissions reductions commitments aimed at containing warming to 1.5°C

On a scale of 0 to 100, a recent study scored least developed countries’ preparedness to adapt to climate change at 33 (compared to 69 for developed countries)

5 ways digital solutions can cut greenhouse gas emissions

Energy efficiency and integration of renewable energy

Digital solutions can enable the integration of renewables onto the grid, improve efficiency and heighten transparency. Smart grids, analytics solutions and advanced energy management systems can abate 1.8 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent (CO2e) by 2030.

More efficient mobility & logistics

Real-time traffic information, smart logistics, intelligent lighting and other ICT enabled solutions could abate 3.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent (CO2e), including abatement from avoided travel.

Smart buildings

By reducing energy consumption, smart building solutions like smart metering, sensors, and the Internet of Things could cut 2 gigatons CO2e from the housing sector.

Smart manufacturing

Digital solutions will place the customer at the center of a user-focused service, cutting resource inputs at the same time. Smart manufacturing, including virtual manufacturing, customer centric production, circular supply chains and smart services could abate 2.7 gigatons of CO2.

Smart agriculture

Smart agriculture not only boosts yields and avoids food waste, but solutions like sensors, tracking systems, automation and optimized farm management could help to abate 2.0 gigatons of CO2e by 2030.

Explore our detailed research related to this goal See Case Studies Related to this Goal

The business case

Taken together, digital solutions can cut over 12 gigatons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) across the global economy by 2030. That would be around a fifth of total global emissions in 2030. This reduces the risk of resource warfare and the displacement of people. Digital solutions can help us stabilize global climatic conditions while also enabling economic growth.

20% reduction of global CO2 emissions (or 12.1 gigatons CO2e) by 2030. This is digital’s potential contribution to stopping climate change.

See the huge potential of digital solutions to contain climate change

The goal

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Digital’s positive impact

Improves water use efficiency and helps increasing access to water

Most powerful digital solution:

Smart water management: smart pipes, smart levees, smart meters, soil sensors, remote irrigation management systems, rain water harvesting systems, consumption control apps, e-billing

See Case Studies Related to this Goal See Global Status for this Goal

15% reduction in water consumption by 2030. Digital solutions enable smart water management.

The goal

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Digital’s positive impact

mproves energy efficiency and access to more affordable energy and supports to increase share of renewable energies in energy mix

Most powerful digital solution:

Smart energy: smart grid, smart appliances, energy storage, predictive analytics, sensors, demand response technology

See Case Studies Related to this Goal See Global Status for this Goal

1.3 billion Megawatt hours of energy savings by 2030. Digital solutions help us get more out of our energy.

The goal

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Digital’s positive impact

Improve production and consumption patterns, enabling the transformation to the circular economy

Most powerful digital solution:

Smart manufacturing: industrial Internet of Things / machine-to-machine (M2M), 3-D printing, cyber-physical systems, data analytics & cloud computing, drones & robotics, embedded system production technology

Smart agriculture: optimized farm management and automated irrigation systems; precision agriculture, including machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, Internet of Things, soil sensors, satellites and integrated real-time weather information; traceability and tracking systems.

See Case Studies Related to this Goal See Global Status for this Goal

20% less pre- and post-consumption food waste by 2030. Digital solutions and smart agriculture make it possible.

The goal

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Digital’s positive impact

Improves protection of oceans and water quality

Most powerful digital solution:

Smart conservation: advanced mapping and data analytics; smart sensors; drones; real-time satellite imaging; smart monitoring; real-time weather forecasting

See Case Studies Related to this Goal See Global Status for this Goal

32% of world’s coastal areas could already benefit from smart conservation solutions. Digital solutions can help protect our oceans.

The goal

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Digital’s positive impact

Improve protection of nature reserves on land and resource-use efficiency

Most powerful digital solution:

Smart agriculture: optimized farm management and automated irrigation systems; precision agriculture, including machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, Internet of Things, soil sensors, satellites and integrated real-time weather information; traceability and tracking systems.

Smart conservation: advanced mapping and data analytics; smart sensors; drones; real-time satellite imaging; smart monitoring; real-time weather forecasting

See Case Studies Related to this Goal See Global Status for this Goal

251 trillion liters of water saved by 2030. Digital solutions and smart agriculture makes it possible.

About Sustainable Development Goal 17

Goal 17 – “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” – is an overarching goal, not attributable to one “impact area,” such as improving quality of life.

Goal 17 – “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” – is an overarching goal, not attributable to one “impact area.”

Find out about Sustainable Development Goals in other areas:

Equitable Growth Quality of life