💬 “It’s happened a few times that the colleagues in different tech companies have expressed how concerned they are about the immense potential knowledge and power these companies have and how important it is to govern this knowledge and this power.” David Jensen

This is a conversation with David Jensen

🎙️ David works at the UN Environment Programme as the coordinator of the Digital Transformation Task Force and the head of Policy and Innovation for the Crisis Management Branch. He is helping to write the digital transformation strategy for UN Environment to amplify and accelerate their adoption of digital technologies, practices and mindsets. He has also been advising the UN Science Policy Business Forum on these topics and was the co-author of a flagship discussion paper entitled The Case for a Digital Ecosystem for the Environment. David is also the co-founder of different digital platforms, including EarthSchool, Environmental Peacebuilding and MapX as well as a series on a Digital Ecosystem for the Planet on Medium.

🎧 In this episode, David talks about how digital technology is going to lead to a massive transformation around supply chain trends. However, currently, we still need a shared vision between organizations like the UN and their corporate partners and the big technology companies and the other stakeholders about how we can ensure that the digital economy actually achieves global sustainability and takes us towards the sustainable development goals, rather than in the other direction. We talked about how important it is for organizations like the UN to step further into this conversation and begin to put a governance framework around the digital economy. David highlights the importance of partnerships, particularly with technology companies.

But says they only really work when we have the guidelines, the standards and the safeguards. That means that these partnerships are compatible with the public interest. He goes on to say that currently there isn’t a huge amount of transparency in the underlying business model of these types of partnerships.

And he raises his concerns about technological dependencies, which could be being created right now. One area that he says has great potential is citizen science. And allowing individuals everywhere to collect collate and analyze environmental data. We talked about who needs to own the data, the support, sustainable development, especially around the infrastructure and how we can work to ensure that it’s open public and transparent.

David explains how digital technologies could be used as nudging tools to help us as consumers to make better choices. And he puts out a rallying call for this to be a priority. For the big eCommerce players, I will share David’s final words from the episode here, which you could enjoy hearing again from him later on the future is what we make it.

We can decide to use the technology for good and to advance global sustainability, or we can decide to use it for maximizing profits and driving hyper-consumption. It’s really up to us as a global community to decide.

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