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Karen Wendt

president at SwissFinTechLadies
Languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Russian

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Karen Wendt is the editor of Sustainable Finance series (Springer,Palgrave, Mac Millan). She merges Ecosystems Building, Design Thinking, Investment and Portfolio Engineering, Strategy, ExponentialTech, Behavior and Sustainability. Her mission is to scale sustainable innovation with purpose and passion to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (#SDGs) in her Scaling4Impact Programme. In 2007 she won the FT sustainability award. She founded SwissFinTechLadies to make females visible.

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Karen Wendt

2 years ago

The missing Link SDG 18 - Decoupling Resource Usage from Growth

Article about The missing Link SDG 18 - Decoupling Resource Usage from Growth

SDG 18 - The missiing Link - The 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030


The Blockchain for Sustainable Development landscape which we define as distributed ledger technology projects, initiatives and ecosystems across any of the Sustainable Development Goals, has changed dramatically in the two years since the emerging technology received global attention for its potential implications on the economy, business, sustainability and government at the World Economic Forum in 2017.


Whereas the United Nations assume that the implementation oft he 17 sustainable Development goals will happen through economic growth it cannot be stressed enough that growth in the traditional model means more resource usage and as we already use resources beyond planetary boundaries the implementation oft he 17 Sustainable Development goals would mean another stretch if Blockchain weren’t to create the necessary decoupling of economic growth from resource usage. So the main advantage of Blockchain lies in the implication we can create economic growth and fulfill the Sustainable Development goals without using more resources. Bockchain shall enable us to decouple growth from resource usage.


A 20-year vision of adoption was optimistically delineated across all facets of the real economy wherein businesses and governments would be able to achieve unprecedented efficiency, with global operations and supply chains fundamentally reorganized, enabled by new business and service models, ecosystems and relationships. Blockchain promises to offer approaches and solutions that were not possible using other technologies or systems, and a unique opportunity to simultaneously create accountability, transparency, and security of systems alongside the decoupling of growth and resource usage.. Blockchain for sure has a huge benefit in tracking supply chains, weeding out corruption and facility payments and therefore provides indication for good governance without relying on a third party or middleman (auditors, quality assurance, ISO standards, certification schemes just to name a few).

However there is much more juice to the Blockchain for Sustainable Development. Making decoupling happening through Blockchain usage would have deserved an on UN Sustainability goal: SDG 18.


The societal innovation behind this technology is based on the theory that open immutable ledgers would enable transparent decision-making procedures and decentralized incentive systems for collaboration and cooperation.

Blockchain technology, being decentralized by nature, can enable communities of all sizes to reach consensus and “implement innovative forms of self-governance”, provided that the rules of the system were developed inclusively with these communities. Essentially blockchain-based systems could be the key to

delivering productivity gains and connecting digital infrastructure across multiple industries, from supply chains, to energy markets and utilities, to the public sector, intellectual property management and more.



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