PA showcases disruptive tech to UN Global Compact delegates

23 November 2016 3 min. read

PA Consulting Group recently hosted business leaders of companies participating in the United Nations Global Compact at the firm’s Cambridge Technology Centre. The attendees participated in a collection of workshops on emerging disruptive technologies and how these could impact sustainability, as part of the 2016 Lead Symposium taking place in Cambridge.

The United Nations Global Compact is a United Nations initiative to encourage businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and to report on their implementation. As part of the initiative, participants from across the globe – they stem from UN agencies, labour groups and organisations to governments, consulting firms and politicians – regularly come together to discuss how realisation of the UN’s so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be met and how advancement in the field can be supported.

The latest event on the calendar took place last week in the UK, with LEAD participants – an exclusive group of sustainability leaders from across all regions and sectors that represent the cutting edge of the UN Global Compact – attending the Symposium ‘Breakthrough Innovation for the SDGs’ in Cambridge in the second week of November.

UN Global Compact Breakthrough Innovation Platform

The objective of the event was to explore ways in which breakthrough technologies could benefit or threaten the Sustainable Development Goals for governments, businesses and society. Ingvild Sørensen, Senior Manager for UN’s Global Compact LEAD programme, explained: “Change is coming at an accelerating rate and ushering in profound disruption for business. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement signal a new era of opportunity in which companies must move from talk to action – by developing and deploying innovative business models that will be at the heart of tomorrow’s economy. The UN Global Compact aims to drive radical new business models to advance the SDGs by connecting mainstream companies with next generation innovators and entrepreneurs.”

PA’ Technology Centre in Cambridge
As part of the two-day programme, delegates visited the Cambridge based Technology Centre of PA Consulting Group, a hub which is home to over 250 scientists, engineers, technologists and consultants. PA Consulting delivered a keynote address (delivered by life sciences expert Milind Kamkolkar) and facilitated workshops looking at how organisations can enable more sustainable outcomes through breakthroughs in technology and business models. Disruptive technologies considered in detail included: Artificial Intelligence, The Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, additive manufacturing, genomics and nutrient recovery from waste.

Commenting on PA’s contribution to the programme, David Rakowski, a technology expert at the consultancy, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for PA to discuss real technologies that will play an important role in the future and unlock new opportunities that previously weren’t possible. We recognise that more and more organisations are rethinking how they approach sustainability to deliver maximum value. Technology is a key enabler for this, so we’re incredibly pleased to have contributed to helping the delegates understand how to tap this potential.”

The outcome of the work discussed at the conference will be presented as a report at the UN Global Compact event in Davos in January 2017.