2 December 2020

The Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) today launched the ‘Digital with Purpose’ Movement at the Web Summit forum in Lisbon, Portugal with a new brand identity and manifesto film by Ridley Scott Creative Group, Amsterdam. The Movement is an ICT led initiative working with public, private and not-for-profit partners that share an ambition to create business value through radically accelerating the enabling power of digital technology to meet the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals, whilst minimising negative externalities that may arise.

Already the Movement has attracted several leading organisations who are working together to drive the ambition and establish a clear roadmap to tackle global challenges. The outcome will lead to the official launch of the Digital With Purpose Movement on June 1st at the Digital Summit in Lisbon, where leading corporation CEOs from the Movement collectively present to policy makers and the global society a formal pledge of commitment.

The initiative has arisen against a backdrop of a global pandemic, where we have never been made more aware of the outstanding role digital technology and innovation has played in keeping communities moving and people connected. Yet while governments and society continue to embrace this much needed digital transformation, the need to combine competitiveness and economic growth with purpose driven values and commitments has never been more important to ensure sustainable growth. The movement is seen as an opportunity to strengthen international cooperation, working together to tackle global challenges and support a purpose-fuelled democracy with strong ethical values.

To launch the Movement with a bang, Digital With Purpose brought in Ridley Scott Creative Group, Amsterdam as creative partner to develop the brand identity as well as a manifesto film, which premiered at the Web Summit.

The ‘Digital with Purpose’ Movement is open to all. Member organisations are required to make a public pledge to the four universal commitments of the movement: To contribute to the development of the framework, to take part in an open framework evaluation process and to collaborate with others to develop and realise their ambitions to maximise their positive impact on achieving the Paris Agreement and SDGs.

To enable and further accelerate the impact through digital technology, the movement has identified ‘digital impact themes’ across five priority areas that include Climate Action, the Circular Economy, Supply Chain, Digital Inclusion and Digital Trust. These themes form the core to working groups that are using best practice tools and insights to calculate the performance score for each organisation, resulting in an independently validated ‘Digital with Purpose’ accreditation. Additionally, the movement will collectively work on the digital technologies that will positively enable other industry sectors such as energy, transportation, agriculture, education, health and public administration.

This is a movement with backing from government too. “Digital Transformation is an opportunity to build a new balance between business, technological development and the respect for our fundamental rights and values. It’s an opportunity to strengthen international cooperation, working together to tackle global challenges. That is why I proudly subscribe to this “Digital With Purpose” Manifesto. It is an opportunity to create an economy that works for people. An economy with a higher purpose. Where no one is left behind,” says António Luís Santos da Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal and upcoming President of the European Union Council.

“Recent research by GeSI, conducted with the support of Deloitte, finds that the application and use of digital technology will be essential to achieving the bold objectives set by the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” says Luis Neves, CEO GeSI. “What’s particularly urgent is to mobilise the use and deployment of digital technologies to transition to a low carbon economy that will mitigate the worst consequences of climate change and realise the UN SDGs.”

He continues, “Many countries are already realising the benefits of a 5G era, sparking exciting new possibilities for consumers and transforming the shape of virtually every business. Those that embrace the need to responsibly accelerate the impact digital technology has on society and the health of our planet will reap the rewards. Those that do not embrace the need to accelerate a purpose-led impact can expect to suffer increasing scrutiny from shareholders, regulators and consumers.”

“Backing the Digital with Purpose Movement fits into our vision of creating a positive and enabling future for all and to truly empower an inclusive society while protecting the health of our planet,” said James Gowen, Vice President – Global Supply Chain & Chief Sustainability Officer at Verizon.

“We are in a climate crisis. As storytellers, we have a duty to communicate the message to the world to act – and to act now,” says Creative Group founder and Director Ridley Scott.

“As the pace of change is accelerating – bringing with it uncertainty but also huge opportunities – the Digital With Purpose Movement is a very timely and most welcome initiative,” says Georg Kell, Chairman of the Arabesque Group. “It promises to play an important role in meeting the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

GeSI is inviting business leaders from any sector to join the ‘Digital with Purpose’ Movement and ask themselves what role they can play in creating a better digital society through digital technology and innovation. For more information, please contact info@gesi.org.