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The full goal is to remove poverty in all its forms, everywhere. There is a split between the global definition of ‘extreme poverty’, which has a standard definition of $1.25 a day and a national definition. The UK’s definition links to household income after housing costs. At Daisy, we pay all our staff at least the Real Living Wage, as set by the Living wage foundation. We also provide financial awareness courses at Daisy University to help people financially plan. The linkages between poverty, the protected characteristics, Daisy Action Root 2 and SDGs 4,5,10 are strong. We are making steps with our supply chain on this and other socio-economic and environmental concerns. The IT sector has a clear and essential role to play, and this requires partnership working across supply chains to achieve it. These partnerships include working with government to achieve this goal.
The expansion of this goal is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. At Daisy, we work with the Groundbreaker charity to achieve sustainable agricultural goals. We are also applying carbon credits that promote both carbon uptake and sustainability to improve food security. The IT industry has a responsibility here, too. This is due to how land is used and how resources are obtained, furthermore whether any displacement occurs. This displacement can substantially impact food security, and it is, therefore, vital that the supply chains understand it. The IT sector has a clear and essential role to play, and this requires partnership working across supply chains to achieve it. There is a clear and obvious role for the IT industry to help promote better farming practices through the use of such tools as artificial intelligence related to agricultural practice.
The full goal is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages. At Daisy, we have a well-being and engagement manager who works with our workforce to improve well-being. We are in the UK, so we benefit from the NHS. However, our employees also have 24-7 access to a private GP and the ability to get a second opinion. In addition to this, they also get dietary guidance, all on request via our employee assistance programme (EAP). This combination we believe will help the people who work for us. However, there are broader responsibilities to the supply chain, which means recognising how their employers treat staff at every stage within the IT industry. This covers the period from element extraction throughout the manufacturing process (including transport and distribution). There are multiple implications here that align with our environmental obligations under UN Compact and critical criteria here, such as SDG 6, 13, 15 & 16. It is a complex and interlinked mechanism that we operate within.
The full goal is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. At Daisy, we have set up an in-house training facility named www.daisy.university. This facility provides and arranges training for our workforce. This covers basic legal requirements (e.g. health and safety). It goes further with personal skills and supports people to achieve degree qualifications at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. We have made this facility available on a wider basis to residents in communities that we serve, where agreed with local authorities. This action is part of returning social value as part of our work. On an international scale, the work we do with Groundbreaker – of which our Daisy COO is on the board of trustees, to support the creation of schools in developing countries, with a particular gender focus – to include females. The requirements to support learning link to our ESG Action Root 3, commitments under UN-Compact, and SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5 & 10. The IT industry has a substantial role to play here, as it can help bridge the digital divide and develop safer places of work.
The fuller title of this goal is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. At Daisy, half of our C-Board are women and more than a third of our management board. All members of the board have been promoted from within the company. The IT industry is clearly part of STEM careers, and we need to further promote inclusion at all levels within Daisy to ensure equality of treatment. We provide a gender pay gap report annually and are working to understand and reduce existing gaps. The lower percentage role of women is prevalent across the industry.
As a consequence, we must work with others on how to reduce it. The role of gender in the business is prevalent in each of our Action Roots, though it has a clear significance in Roots 1, 2, 3 and 9. The role of gender also features throughout the SDGs. Gender is a protected characteristic that experiences substantial levels of discrimination. This requires working within our industry and our supply chain to eradicate it.
The fuller tile of this goal is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Water use is one of the seven pillars of circularity, forming the design of our LIAISE collection of services. The sustainable use of water is fundamental to achieving a circular economy (as one of the seven pillars). The need to develop technologies sustainably, of which water is a clear component, is one of our commitments under UN-Corporate. The ICT industry uses water heavily throughout the various stages of production, from element extraction through to all stages of manufacture. This means that we have to work within our supply chain to find ways to minimise impacts, perhaps even finding ways to restore degraded environments.
The fall title is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. A critical, and perhaps the most crucial, component of delivering a future where electricity can be provided in a zero carbon form is through demand management as well as storage. This requires a high level of IT involvement as IoT Devices will be critical. This will require changes in how people interact with technology, which will require learning and cultural differences. This will impact how we interact with buildings, vehicles and manufacturing sites. These buildings include our homes and our workplaces. Countries are at very different levels when it comes to energy, which has been intrinsically linked to the use and availability of fossil fuels.
Much of the reason that developed nations have a high perceived quality of life is due to the historical use of fossil fuels, which are the primary cause of climate change. It is therefore incumbent on the global community to find ways of delivering clean energy to all so that there is no technology ‘lock-in’ to the use of brown energy. The availability of clean energy is part of the seven pillars driving LIAISE. It is a requirement underpinning UN-Compact and our desire to become a B-Corp. It is critical to becoming a net-zero company in terms of our operations and supply chain. There are clear challenges between nations relating to the availability and type of zero-carbon energy that is available to them, technology and changes to how we interact with energy will be critical to the overall delivery.
The full title of this goal is to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. This is a challenging goal, but growth is implied in ‘sustainable development’. This challenge may require a change in what is regarded as development so that, in circular terms, it is valued beyond purely financial measures. These alternative measures, alongside well-being considerations, join to enable ‘decent work for all’. This goal is a fundamental part of how a responsible company and industry’s supply chain operates. This will be driven by the bottom-up, by organisations taking the initiative. It will also require regulation as identified in SDG-16. This will need firms working in partnership, one of our company values, this is SDG-17. The work environment incorporating well-being and culture are two of the seven pillars of circularity to drive our LIAISE programme. There is the requirement to look beyond purely financial (depending on geographical location). Like many supply chains reliant on manufacturing, the full supply chain in IT has the lowest paid staff in the chains’ early stages. We have produced a video.
The full title of this goal is to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation. This requires reframing much of the way technology management and innovation facilitation has been considered historically. It necessitates values being attributed to factors like the environment for many to understand the need for change. This goal heavily intersects with SDG-8, 13 and 16. Under LIAISE, Daisy is using the pillars of circularity to drive innovation. It is a framework. It will only work if other factors operating around the industry are working together on this common goal. There are two essential ways innovation occurs, you either have a demand for a new product or service – which a market provides, or the market provides a product or service it didn’t know it needed or did not realise was possible. The IT industry has a long history of delivering both, only before there were limited environmental and social limitations. We need to work with others on how these factors are best combined. There is an opportunity here to work with others to drive this, Daisy’s Partnership Value and SDG-17. The requirement to deliver sustainable approaches forms two of the ten commitments we have made when becoming a signatory to UN-Compact.
The full title of this goal is to reduce inequalities within and among countries. This may seem like a duplication of SDG-5 and there is an overlap. Gender is the most common source of inequality globally. It is not the only one. In the UK, we have a set of protected characteristics (the USA is very similar, also having army veterans) which have additional protection under the law of discrimination, harassment and victimisation. This is an example of the type of law changes that are required that SDG-16 refers to. The IT industry is well placed to enable more people to access the work environment. They may be limited by disability, caregiving requirements, or related issues attached to other characteristics that make attending a workplace problematic.
The pandemic showed how technology could facilitate home working. This has made such working relationships a readily justifiable ‘reasonable adjustment’. This has benefits in expanding the workforce that an organisation can incorporate. The goal is not limited to the individual. It goes further, referring to disparities between countries. This, therefore, contains discrepancies. This links to all of the other SDGs. The ability to improve access to workplaces and services is something Daisy can assist with today. The IT industry has an enormous environmental and social impact globally. Therefore it has insights to promote the remedies. It is diverse and complex, impacting people everywhere – it will only be resolved in partnership with others.
The full title of this goal is to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The elements of this goal, therefore, align with multiple others. Daisy has a duty here as we work in communities throughout the UK. This incorporates various urban scales from villages to cities. We have a role to play in enabling these communities to become more resilient, indeed we have a division dedicated to this type of thought. Business continuity protects against significant events, such as cyber and extreme weather. Globally, 80% of people are projected to live in cities by 2030, so how the city is organised is key to its ability to operate resiliently. The city is not the only place where resilience is needed. The term resilient has grown from one that is about adapting to one that incorporates zero-carbon energy.
The manufacture (and element extraction) of ICT equipment takes place in communities. Therefore how the firm operates in these areas has a fundamental impact socially and environmentally in the short and long term. These organisations, depending on location, have a substantial influence on SDG-16. This concept is fundamental to LIAISE and its seven pillars of circularity base. The requirements for developing in line with this goal align with UN-Compact and has inextricable links to human rights. The future and how we live and interact are fundamental to meeting social and environmental goals.
The full title of this goal is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. This goal transcends all of the other goals, and it is at the heart of a circular versus a linear model of consumption/production. This focus on sustainable patterns is the same ethos as is behind our work within LIAISE and the commitments made as part of UN-Compact. Delivering these sustainable patterns requires awareness of impacts, behavioural changes and technological developments that facilitate these patterns. A crucial part of developing these patterns is how, in our case, ICT can become sustainable in its design. This covers how parts (elements) used in construction may be reused, permitting such patterns. It is not a straightforward journey as it conflicts with traditional development approaches. This goal, therefore, transcends the rest.
Responsible consumption includes food and water. There are, consequently, systemic elements from this goal that have wider-reaching implications for society. This goal aligns with our UN-Compact commitments, the LIAISE (circular) approach and the consumption patterns promoted as part of our desire to become a B-Corp. We will be the first in our sector to conduct a combined TCFD and TNFD.
The full title of this goal is to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. We have adopted the requirement to become net-zero/carbon neutral in our operations by 2026 and to do the same in our supply chain by 2039. There is an infographic below that sets this out. Achieving net zero requires an understanding of how it is measured. With this, there is a duty to recognise how energy policy is likely to unfold as this has significant implications for how the cost is considered. The carbon implications of the IT industry are estimated to be higher than aviation globally. The IT industry is also the prime user of the most intensive greenhouse gases, SF6 (found in semi-conductors 22,800 x CO2); NF3 (found in laptop and phone screens 17,200 x CO2); HFCs (found in air conditioning units at DC sites up to 14,800 x CO2). There are substantial amounts of energy used to create the IT devices as well as use them (which creates significant amounts of CO2 and a comparatively low amount of CH4 and N2O).
There is a substantial broader impact that features across the SDGs. At Daisy, we will be the first to complete a combined TCFD & TNFD (Taskforces for Climate and Nature Financial disclosures). There are substantial implications for risks attached to severe weather events (a function of climate change), which are enhanced by the built environment – due to heightened flooding risks or the urban heat island effect. These can cause data centres to cease operation (temporarily or permanently) without adequate planning. Daisy supports carbon farming work within IT with Groundbreaker, a charity that works closely with the IT community. Addressing IT’s impacts needs to be done in partnership with our supply chain and our competitors. That way, we can shape standards.
The full title of this goal is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. It may not be immediately apparent how IT is linked to life below the waves. This, primarily, comes down to wider impacts of manufacturing and how waste is treated. There are substantial issues relating to waste entering the sea, either through directly discharging or through land deposits that find their way to water, or air pollution that settles into and is absorbed by the oceans. This covers many pollutants. A significant one is CO2 absorbed by the oceans, which leads to acidification. This is a major cause of coral bleaching (and such reefs being destroyed).
These implications impact food availability as many global communities rely heavily on the oceans for their food. The systemic effects of pollution will also be pronounced in coastal communities where IT manufacturing exists. It will also hinder areas where elements and metals are taken to facilitate the manufacturing requirements of the IT industry and the rare components that it relies upon. The mining of these areas has substantial risk attached to it. This awareness requires a broader appreciation of the environmental consequences of our industry and how they may be remedied.
The full title of this goal is to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss. This is a comprehensive goal. Its link to IT is similar to SDG-14 and is systemic in nature. The ICT industry relies on a substantial amount of land damage caused by rare elements and metal extraction. Significant amounts of packaging are also utilised, which adds to forest pressures and desertification risks. This is not unique to IT. There are substantial environmental risks due to pollution discharges to land at IT manufacturing sites. There are different environmental standards globally, which IT as an industry needs to own as environmental stewards. The impacts on biodiversity are substantial, and these impacts are felt throughout the lifecycle of IT products.
The WEEE directive in Europe has tried to address part of this. It has banned electronic waste from going to landfill. This impact is due to bioleaching that takes place at landfill sites, which leads to leachate of toxic substances into the ground – which can then impact it and eventually contaminate water. Due to the value of the elements within IT waste, some dubious practices can lead to further environmental harm, despite appearing to ‘recycle’. This more comprehensive focus is the concept of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’. The concepts considered here are intrinsically linked across all the SDGs and to our commitments within UN-Compact. We will not get there alone; we will require working with others.
The full title of this goal is to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Regarding all aspects discussed throughout the SDGs and how we consider them at Daisy, there is a need for regulation to make certain things happen. This necessitates strong institutions/governance frameworks globally. As a large IT company, we work with multiple manufacturers of IT equipment. Therefore, we are positioned to shape the drive for sustainable products and the mechanisms used in their production. This also includes financial considerations and how elements, recycled vs virgin materials, are considered – so there are no market-based valuations on precious metals and rare elements. The environmental consequences of them need to be embodied in considering their values.
This internalisation of factors beyond those that are financial is not new. It has been part of environmental economics for decades. The need for it has increased substantially. The institutions referred to here must deliver on all of the goals. In terms of IT, we can shape requirements – but the mindset needed is largely the same across all manufacturing industries – the level of impact varies.