Innovating for Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs)

Albert Einstein once said that “the crisis is the best blessing that can happen to people and countries because the crisis brings progress”. Indeed, innovation is being brought about by global crises currently happening in the country and around the world today. The world’s most vital industries are creating innovative solutions for long-standing problems related to sustainability. These innovations are providing solutions to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 connected aims for the world that countries are encouraged to adopt by the year 2030. The SDGs aren’t just for countries to adopt however, as top industries are at the forefront in terms of innovation and the SDGs. Below, we are going to look at particular cases where top industries are innovating solutions that respond to the Sustainable Development Goals.


Access to Healthcare: Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3)

Various innovations in the UK healthcare system are being supported through grant funding, revolutionising patient care and service delivery. Digital Health reported on an innovative healthcare project called Ufonia, which deploys AI-driven voice technology which can call patients and have fully autonomous conversations with them to assess their health status. The technology was developed with the University of Oxford and is being tested on nearly 100 patients who’ve had cataract surgery at a large NHS hospital trust. This technology helps in bringing down administrative costs and provides additional time for healthcare workers to focus on more important tasks. Using AI and machine learning helps move the administrative burden from physicians, reducing the time and effort to oversee administrative tasks like patient interviews. The innovations in healthcare have led to increased access, which are contributing to SDG 3.

Sustainable Fashion: Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12)

More and more high-profile clothing brands are moving towards having an ethical supply chain. This ensures that their raw materials are produced sustainably and labour is fair. For example, the clothing brand Monkee Genes features an eco-wash collection, which is made up of up to 80% less water than regular denim production. Denim’s environmental impact is huge, and targeting this material is a good step for sustainable fashion labels. Monkee Genes also understands that most sustainable fashion brands are very expensive, so much so that many people still opt to buy from cheaper yet unsustainable brands. The label’s “affordable ethical” promise ensures that all their clothing retails for under £50. Businesses are slowly practicing responsible consumption and production through sustainable fashion, leading towards SDG 12.

Shipping and Logistics: Climate Action (SDG 13)

The global shipping industry has one of the largest carbon footprints, owing to the significant amount of fuel being consumed by vehicles and vessels. Here in the UK the transport sector has studied various ways shipping fleets can lower the consumption of fuel during the delivery of packages. Verizon Connect details simple innovations that can reduce fuel consumption, such as being on top of your tire pressure, overall maintenance, and excess cargo. For example, for every 50 kilos of weight, the fuel economy decreases by 2%. Thus, being more efficient with things like a lorry’s load can decrease a vehicle’s fuel usage. As shipping fleets are more mindful of these guidelines, fuel consumption and costs can be reduced significantly. This in turn can then be used to make a delivery more fuel-efficient and aid with SDG 13.

These innovations have allowed industries that are great contributors toward global warming to reverse these effects through managing their resources better, leading to climate action among large-scale companies. Innovation is inevitable, and the world’s largest and most vital industries have little choice but to innovate and adapt to the changing times in order to survive and thrive in 2019 and beyond.


The article was exclusively written for

By Amber Alice

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