Tech For Good: What is it and how do you do it?

  • Published: 17 May 2023,
  • Say Technology Team

With the world of business & technology constantly evolving it’s no longer good enough to just make money, you must be seen to do good as well. Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, the world’s largest asset management company said in his annual letter to CEOs that sustainability & purpose led business should be the ‘North Star’ for organisations going forward.

The Need for Purpose

Fink states that these themes are ‘vital to driving durable long-term returns’ & that purpose should guide organisations as they embrace new disruptions. “Stakeholder capitalism is not about politics. It is not a social or ideological agenda. It is not ‘woke.’ It is capitalism, driven by mutually beneficial relationships between you & the employees, customers, suppliers, & communities your company relies on to prosper. This is the power of capitalism,” Fink states in the letter.

Three Sustainability Pillars

The tech sector has arguably led in this kind of thinking. Companies like Vodafone were early in establishing a stand-alone charitable foundation that is focusing on the challenges where it believes its technology can make a difference, aiming to improve 480 million lives by 2025. It is looking at schools & women’s health issues in some of the more remote & unconnected parts of the world. The commercial side of the company has also embraced the value of a sustainable business model & now structures the company around three sustainability pillars – inclusion for all, planet & digital society. These pillars influence decisions the business will make about investment, product development & market expansions.

Tech for Good

Today’s workforce is looking for employers who are concerned about more than their bottom line & that is true especially in the world of technology. Here at SAY we’re currently in the throes of being verified by B Lab to become a certified B Corporation. Whilst it’s a lengthy process it will mean that SAY meets the high standards of social & environmental performance, transparency & accountability.

Technology has the power to fundamentally change the world we live in. It’s the choices each of us makes that decides whether those changes have positive or negative repercussions. Just look at the conversations currently taking place around ChatGPT & generative AI to see how this is playing out in real time.

Understandably, it is becoming increasingly important that the tech giants are held to a better standard of corporate behaviour than the industrial conglomerates of the past.

But ‘Tech for Good’ activities & approaches need to be anchored in real business change. Fossil fuel companies must work twice as hard if they’re to get past accusations of ‘greenwashing’ when trying to show their environmental credentials. Equally, Big Tech must be clear in its purpose if it is to avoid challenges of ‘virtue washing’, while maintaining business as usual behind the scenes.

And Finally

In conclusion the critical part in these kinds of activities is the positioning & the communications. Any initiative needs to first be grounded in addressing a real-world problem & should not be seen purely as a revenue raising activity or a way for the company to feel good about itself. Ensure you know how to position your organisation’s business led plans &/or examine how to create credible, engaging tech for good programmes. With the encouragement of groups like BlackRock, purpose led businesses & initiatives like ‘tech for good’ will soon become standard operating procedures & just part of how the world works.

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