Three Shifts for a Sustainable Planet in the Digital Age

Digitalization can be harnessed—and redirected—as a force for sustainable development. To get there will require three major “shifts” from business-as-usual.

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Enable Alignment

Aligning vision, values, and objectives of the digital age with sustainable development

Shift One

The first shift calls for the convergence of digitalization and sustainability to accelerate environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development. It proposes a re-imagining of a common vision for digitalization, along with renewed objectives for sustainable development in the digital age.

Six Enablers of Alignment

To drive this first shift, we will need to build strong coalitions across public and private entities, academia and civil society. Together, we must reorient the digital age towards a sustainable future. CODES stakeholders identified 6 strategic priorities that act as fundamental enablers to achieving the systems-level change needed for this shift.

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Mitigate Negative Impacts

Reduce the negative environmental and social impacts of digitalization

Shift Two

The second shift calls for a reduction in the negative environmental and social impacts that arise from digital technologies and their supply chains. These impacts include significant ecological problems linked to energy and material consumption, coupled with social issues tied to unsustainable consumption patterns, misinformation, unequal access to digital technologies, discrimination in the provisioning of digital skills and capabilities, or targeted human rights violations.

Six Challenges

CODES stakeholders identified 6 strategic priorities that must be addressed to mitigate these negative impacts, and ensure that digitalization is responsible, ethical and sustainable.

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Accelerate Innovation

Directing innovation efforts toward digitalization for sustainability

Shift Three

The third shift calls for the digital innovation community—including governments, development partners, private sector, informal economy actors, local communities and academia—to channel large investments, capacity development and collective efforts toward digitalization for sustainability. The application of digital innovations must prioritize the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, while working towards the different global environmental commitments adopted through multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).

Six Innovations

CODES stakeholders identified 6 strategic priorities where digital innovations can be proactively used to implement, accelerate and scale sustainability globally.