ICT drives progress on UN global goals in Europe, report shows

EU countries with advanced ICT sectors and information societies perform better on sustainable development - with high-speed broadband at the core of progress.

The EU ICT-Sustainable Development Goals Benchmark, produced by ICT leader Huawei in collaboration with think tank SustainAbility and with support from leading European business network CSR Europe, compiles clear evidence that the digital revolution can help communities in Europe become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. 

Ranking EU countries on the maturity of their ICT sector and achievements on six SDGs, the benchmark highlights connections between the two in a number of fields and presents case studies illustrating how technology helps to solve concrete challenges. The link is particularly strong for those goals that focus on industry performance, innovation and gender equality.

Examples include:

  • smart production systems linking intelligent machines with data sources and workers, shortening innovation cycles and raising productivity in Germany.1 
  • wireless sensors placed in public bins in 10 European countries to determine at what rate they fill up, cutting emissions created by transporting waste. 2
  • a certified mobile app offering women a natural alternative to hormonal contraception using a precise algorithm.3  

‘The strong connection between sustainable development and ICT sector development in EU countries indicates significant potential for success in both areas. As digital transformation in Europe gathers speed, it is vital that we continue to invest in those technologies with the strongest impact on sustainable development – broadband, cloud, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and big data,’ stressed Charles Ding, President of European Public Affairs and Communication at Huawei. He called for collaboration and a focus on skills development, to reap the benefits of digital investment in the long run.

Stefan Crets, Executive Director of CSR Europe, highlighted the importance of businesses as drivers of the efforts to achieve these goals: ‘It is crucial that businesses take a leading role in the transition towards a more sustainable society, and that they dare to transform their business from within,’ he said. ‘We are delighted to see that more and more companies are starting to tackle the SDGs and take responsibility for these developments.’

Rob Cameron, Chief Executive of SustainAbility, commented: ‘Achieving the SDGs will require new breakthroughs in both the pace and scale of ICT deployment. Such breakthroughs will depend upon collaboration across sectors and outstanding leadership from both the public and private sectors. This report not only points to pathways forward, it demonstrates Huawei’s commitment to the SDGs and its willingness to show leadership in achieving the 2030 goals.’

Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Germany and France came out as leaders of the benchmark with the highest combined performances in ICT and sustainable development.

While all digital technologies present opportunities to advance sustainable development, case studies demonstrate that high-speed broadband will be core to achieving breakthrough progress. “While connectivity levels are high in the EU, much remains to be in done in this area to improve access, levels of use and general digital skills of the population,” the report points out.

Presented at the third edition of the Sustainability and Innovation Conference, held in Brussels on 12 October and organised by CSR Europe and Huawei, the benchmark builds on the methodology for Huawei’s global SDG report released earlier this year, which highlighted a correlation between sustainable development progress and ICT on a worldwide scale. 

Huawei has made a long-term commitment to sustainable development, implementing a sustainability management system designed to mainstream this aspect into everything the company does. It has been working to support the global efforts towards achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals ever since their adoption in 2015. These 17 goals provide clear guidelines and targets for all countries to tackle the root causes of poverty and act jointly to trigger positive change.


About Huawei
Huawei is a leading global information and communication technology (ICT) solutions provider. Our aim is to build a better connected world, acting as a responsible corporate citizen, innovative enabler for the information society and collaborative contributor to the industry. Huawei’s 180 000 employees worldwide are committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers. Our innovative ICT solutions, products and services are used in more than 170 countries and regions, serving over one-third of the world’s population.

Huawei runs 18 R&D sites located in eight European countries (Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the UK) and operates numerous joint innovation centres in partnership with telecom and ICT partners.

Further information is available at www.huawei.eu

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About CSR Europe
CSR Europe is the leading European business network for Corporate Social Responsibility. Through its network of around 50 corporate members and 45 National CSR organisations, it gathers over 10 000 companies, and acts as a platform for those businesses looking to enhance sustainable growth and contribute positively to society. In its mission to bring the CSR agenda forward, CSR Europe goes beyond European borders and cooperates with CSR organisations in other regions around the world.

Further information is available at www.csreurope.org


About SustainAbility

SustainAbility is a think tank and consulting firm. Its aim is to inspire and enable business to lead the way to a sustainable economy. Founded in 1987, for 30 years SustainAbility has been driving change in some of the world’s biggest corporations. SustainAbility is proud to be a certified B Corporation. Its focus is on "making the future the cause of the present".

Further information is available at http://sustainability.com



[1] For more info, see https://www.siemens.com/innovation/en/home/pictures-of-the-future/industry-and-automation/digital-factories-defects-a-vanishing-species.html

[2] For more info, see www.enevo.co

[3] For more info, see www.naturalcycles.com/en


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About Huawei EU

Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services – we are committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world.

Huawei's end-to-end portfolio of products, solutions and services are both competitive and secure. Through open collaboration with ecosystem partners, we create lasting value for our customers, working to empower people, enrich home life, and inspire innovation in organizations of all shapes and sizes.

At Huawei, innovation focuses on customer needs. We invest heavily in basic research, concentrating on technological breakthroughs that drive the world forward. We have more than 180,000 employees, and we operate in more than 170 countries and regions. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.

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