Huawei held a forum titled ‘Tech & Sustainability: Everyone's Included,’ co-hosted by other international bodies, to discuss the role of technology in driving sustainability and building a more inclusive, eco-friendly world.
At the forum, Huawei also released its 2020 Sustainability Report and announced its Seeds for the Future Program 2.0, through which Huawei plans to invest US$150 million in digital talent development over the next five years. This program is expected to benefit more than 3 million additional people. Huawei also released its Innovation: Blood, Sweat and Dreams documentary series, which pays tribute to technological innovators and conservationists.
Acknowledging the importance of promoting equal access to education and talent development in the digital economy, Huawei's Chairman Liang Hua said, "Digital skills and literacy are not just the foundation for the digital economy; they are also a basic human right defined by the United Nations. Today we are announcing Huawei's Seeds for the Future Program 2.0. As part of our commitment to continuously developing talent, we will invest US$150 million in this program over the next five years and help college students and young people improve their digital skills. This program is expected to benefit more than 3 million additional people."
Huawei is committed to helping develop digital talent in the countries where it operates. In 2008, Huawei began to roll out talent development programs, through scholarships, technology competitions, and digital skills training, and has invested more than US$150 million in these programs. Huawei has since benefited more than 1.54 million people from over 150 countries.
According to a 2020 report by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), about 2.2 billion people aged 25 years or younger still lack internet connections at home. This has undoubtedly exacerbated the digital divide plaguing many of the world's most vulnerable. Speaking at the Forum, Ban Ki Moon Center for Global Citizenship Board Member and former UNESCO Director-General, Ms. Irina Bokova highlighted this concern saying, "The digital divide impacts women more than men. Women have less access to the internet and this gap is widening. Women are now four times less likely than men to be digitally literate and represent just 6% of software developers. 170 years are needed to close the economic gender gap between men and women."
Huawei's senior vice president of global government affairs, Ms. Afke Schaart, also spoke at the event about how digital technologies will play an integral role in promoting inclusiveness and equality, saying, "From our 2020 Sustainability Report, you can see that Huawei had launched programs like HUAWEI4HER and TECH4HER to help women improve their ICT skills and promote gender equality across the industry."
Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) Senior Advisor and Mission Innovation's Net-Zero Compatible Innovation Initiative Head, Mr. Dennis Pamlin pointed out that digitalization has greatly reduced the cost of education and information access, and digital solutions will help transform education systems worldwide. Online teaching has already become the new normal, creating new opportunities for global education systems.
Addressing environmental challenges and enabling green development, Liang said, "Green and sustainable development has become a top priority for global economies. Huawei has been leveraging its extensive experience in power electronics and energy storage as well as technical expertise in 5G, cloud, and AI, to develop its digital power business and provide digital power solutions for different industries. As of December 2020, Huawei's digital power products and solutions have generated 325 billion kWh of electricity from renewable sources, and saved a total of 10 billion kWh of electricity. These efforts have resulted in a reduction of 160 million tons in CO2 emissions."
It is estimated that the reduction in carbon emissions in other industries enabled by ICT technologies will be 10 times the amount of carbon emitted by the ICT industry. Tao Jingwen, Huawei's Board Member and Chairman of its Corporate Sustainable Development Committee, said, "Huawei is committed to promoting green integrated ICT solutions to help other industries conserve energy and cut emissions. We are playing an active role in building an energy-efficient, eco-friendly low-carbon society."