Digitalisation to drive forward sustainable development

November 25, 2022 | 10:00
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Digital transformation is already a global engine of sustainable economic growth and, undoubtedly, 5G will be a socioeconomic driver for Vietnam. The enhanced speed, security, and resilience offered by 5G will provide stimulus for local industry to innovate and digitalise rapidly, creating significant economic value for the country. Connected, digital enterprises not only tend to thrive and generate jobs, but also contribute to increased revenues, as well as addressing climate change.

Digitalisation will help us address big global challenges like bridging the digital divide and reducing the carbon footprint, among others. Digital transformation is a global engine of sustainable economic growth, and digital solutions have the potential to reduce global carbon emissions by up to 15 per cent by 2030.

Digitalisation to drive forward sustainable development
Denis Brunetti-President in Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos, Ericsson

For example, technologies such as 5G enable will enable connected smart energy systems that can better match supply with demand and integrate renewable energy sources like wind and solar. For governments, this means delivering on green and digital agendas, but also enabling them to fundamentally alter how citizens engage with the state and its services.

Research undertaken by Imperial College London shows that an average 10 per cent increase in mobile broadband adoption can deliver a corresponding increase in GDP of up to 0.8 per cent, with the benefit being significantly larger in low-income countries. This will help to build dynamic, sustainable, and innovative economies that deliver inclusive growth.

Countries with the lowest broadband penetration can increase GDP upwards of 20 per cent by connecting schools if that commitment is accompanied by investments in digital skills, content, and devices. This requires reliable and resilient networks to be put in place, at scale, rapidly and affordably.

The strong digital infrastructure we are establishing in Vietnam will help bridge the digital divide, create jobs, and boost the economy. It will help businesses in Vietnam simplify operations and reduce costs, thereby increasing efficiency and productivity. School connectivity and digital skills for young people are crucial for unlocking the potential within developing economies.

In 2022, we announced a collaboration with Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology for an education initiative in Vietnam that will help educate Vietnamese students on 5G and emerging technologies. The 5G-ready young talent that this collaboration will produce will serve to accelerate Vietnam’s Industry 4.0 agenda and boost the country’s digital transformation initiatives, helping drive the next wave of sustained and inclusive socioeconomic development in Vietnam, driven by science, technology, and innovation.

ICT is responsible for less than 2 per cent of global emissions, while having the potential to reduce the global emissions from other sectors by up to 15 per cent. For example, automation in mining is one of the most important technologies driving the industry and can mitigate unnecessary risks and reduce operational emissions. Autonomous vehicles, automated drilling, automated site monitoring, and automated ventilation are critical to the future of mining.

Autonomous and more sustainable mining processes supported by 5G connectivity are single-handedly reshaping the mining industry. 5G private networks provide superior connectivity for mining operations than other current offerings due to lower latency and a higher bandwidth for many use cases involved, especially when it comes to automation.

According to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, autonomous vehicles utilise far less fuel than alternative vehicles and require significantly less maintenance, resulting in a lowered carbon footprint.

We have carried out a concrete quantification of carbon emission through a collaboration with Swedish mining company Boliden, which showed that automation powered by a 4G/5G network saved the company approximately 1 per cent of the Aitik mine’s total annual costs. What’s more, there was also an estimated 10 per cent saving in fuel consumption, which corresponds to a reduction of 9,400 metric tonnes of carbon emissions.

The mining industry uses a massive amount of energy. Energy costs represent 30 per cent of operating expenses for mining companies, and overall the industry accounts for 12 per cent of all the industrial energy usage in the United States.

Like the mining industry, there are many other examples of digital transformation of industries, creating new opportunities for industries to limit their impact on the environment. With the growing threat of global warming, the negative impact of carbon emissions is an urgent worldwide concern. Pressure on businesses to accelerate climate action and limit global warming has never been more prevalent, and the corporate world is making commitments for delivering its ambition to become net-zero across its value chain.

Proactive management of topics relating to climate action and the environment is a core component of Ericsson’s sustainability strategy. We have committed to reach net-zero emissions in our value chain by 2040, and are already working towards a first major milestone to cut emissions by 50 per cent in the supply chain and portfolio by 2030, and become net-zero in our own activities at the same time.

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By Denis Brunetti

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