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Which themes are driving sustainable technology?

In this article, the team at RBC Wealth Management explore the main themes at the heart of sustainable technology.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the focus on sustainable technology, or sustech, further highlighting the importance of technology when it comes to addressing sustainability challenges.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action aimed at protecting our planet and improving the quality of life and prospects of people globally by 2030. Progress has been made in some areas, but climate change is threatening to undo these gains.

The start of a new decade brings calls for renewed action to tackle the climate emergency and push for sustainable development.

Today, there is more potential for technology to solve environmental issues rather than create them. Sustech is a term that integrates sustainability and technology, bringing both worlds together to create value for companies, customers and society.

The following five themes provide a foundation for a long-term philosophy centred on sustech — where technology solutions aim to support sustainability issues. It is shaped by businesses, innovation and developments that are changing the world today for a better tomorrow.


1. Foodtech/Agritech

Food science technology and agricultural technology point to innovation in the food development process, from farm to plate. This collective industry seeks to leverage technology to create efficiencies that benefit farmers, the environment and consumers.


2. Greentech

Green technology refers to the use of environmentally friendly technology in production processes or supply chains. This abbreviation also encompasses clean energy production, which involves the use of alternative fuels and technologies that are less detrimental to the environment than fossil fuels.


3. Healthtech

Health technology, as defined by the World Health Organization, is the application of knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems to solve a health problem and improve quality of life. Broadly, the space includes digital health, which refers to the application of digital technology to improve health or care delivery.


4. Smart cities

There are many definitions of a “smart city” across countries and institutions. According to the OECD, smart cities are defined as “initiatives or approaches that effectively leverage digitalisation to boost citizen well-being and deliver more efficient, sustainable and inclusive urban services and environments as part of a collaborative, multi-stakeholder process.“ Simply put, smart cities leverage technology to create better opportunities and improve the wellbeing of citizens.


5. Fintech

Financial technology is a term to describe new and innovative tech solutions that aim to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services. This expanding landscape includes blockchain, cryptocurrencies, online-only financial institutions and tech-led firms in the insurance sector.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the focus on sustech, further highlighting the importance of technology when it comes to addressing sustainability challenges. These five themes illustrate innovative solutions that seek to futureproof the planet for generations to come.

This article was written by RBC Wealth Management and originally published on the firm’s research and insights page, here.

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