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Digitalization to drive sustainable development

Digital transformation is already a global engine of sustainable economic growth and, undoubtedly, 5G will be a socio-economic driver for India. The enhanced speed, security and resilience offered by 5G will provide stimulus for local industry to innovate and digitize rapidly, creating significant economic value for the country. Connected, digital enterprises not only tend to thrive and generate jobs, but also contribute to government revenues and efforts to tackle climate change.
Digitalization to drive sustainable development

Digitalization will help us address big global challenges like bridging the digital divide and reducing the carbon footprint amongst others. Digital transformation is a global engine of sustainable economic growth and over 60% of GDP is expected to depend on digital technologies by 2022.Digital solutions have the potential to reduce global carbon emissions by up to 15 percent by 2030 (Source: 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 with Imperial College, London, shows that an average 10% increase in mobile broadband adoption can deliver a corresponding increase in economic growth (GDP) of up to 0.8%, with the benefit being significantly larger in low-income countries(Source:Ericsson).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% by connecting schools if that commitment is accompanied by investments in digital skills, content and devices. ( Ericsson) This requires reliable, resilient networks to be put in place, at scale, rapidly and affordably.

The strong digital infrastructure we are establishing in India will help bridge the digital divide, create jobs and boost the economy. It will help businesses 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.

ICT is responsible for less than 2 percent of global emissions, while having the potential to reduce the global emissions from other sectors by up to 15 percent. 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 (OECD), autonomous vehicles utilize far less fuel than alternative vehicles and require significantly less maintenance, resulting in a lowered carbon footprint.  We have done 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 percent of the Aitik mine’s total annual costs. What’s more, there was also an estimated 10 percent saving in fuel consumption, which corresponds to a reduction of 9,400 metric tons of CO2 emissions. The mining industry uses a massive amount of energy. Energy costs represent 30% of operating expenses for mining companies, and overall the industry accounts for 12% of all the industrial energy usage in the US.

Like the mining industry, there are many other examples of digital transformation of industries where digitalization creates 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. Ericsson has committed to reach Net Zero emissions in our value chain by 2040. Ericsson is already working towards a first major milestone to cut emissions by 50 percent in the supply chain and portfolio by 2030 and become Net Zero in our own activities at the same time.