December 18, 2020
Sponsored by VMware
In many ways, 2020 has made us stop in our tracks and re-examine our lives. It has forced us to re-think where our world is headed and the actions we must take now to help shape a more equitable and sustainable future.
This hit home for me in September. My family was “sheltering in” here in California, and from our doorstep we could see the wildfire that was raging on the next ridge. The sky was filled with an eerie orange glow, and the air was thick with smoke and ash. The pandemic continued to spread its pain around the world. And the news was filled with reports of social injustice and systemic racism.
It was all deeply distressing. Yes, our world has faced devastating, simultaneous challenges before–World War I and the Spanish Flu come to mind. But never in modern history have we faced something on the scale of today’s global triple threat: climate change, a fast-spreading pandemic and the upheaval caused by systemic racism.
The Year of the Triple
Sometimes life gives us a collective slap in the face forcing us to pay attention. That’s one positive I take from 2020: This “Year of the Triple” has created a unifying sense of urgency to act now. These are the critical questions we must ask ourselves:
Can we meet the urgent challenge of climate change as we confront a sharp increase in wildfires, Category 5 hurricanes and extreme floods?
Can we bridge the digital divide and create a future that is more accessible and inclusive for all?
Can we build trust in our tech innovations by ensuring they are based on ethical stewardship? Can we rely upon them as we invent the future of healthcare, education and society?
For me, these are no longer just important issues to debate. It’s personal. It’s urgent. And it’s the right thing to do.
Which brings me back to that “slap in the face.” Recently, I was discussing technology’s impact over the past generation with my blessedly direct daughter-in-law when she said, “Yes, your generation has accomplished extraordinary things. But did you have to bankrupt the planet?”
It was painful to hear, but … she had a valid point.
I firmly believe in the power of technology to have a lasting positive impact on the world. But I also recognize that how it is used, for good or bad, rests in all of our hands. We must harness it as a force for good.
In 2015, we laid out a vision of VMware’s global impact across three pillars—our People, our Products and the Planet. We set out to build on our long-standing commitment to create a better future–by putting back more than we take.
We achieved nearly all the goals we established five years ago. This year, we moved to take our commitment to the next level, with an ambitious set of 2030 goals that are fully integrated into our operations.
Our 2030 Agenda
While VMware has long focused on sustainability, our 30 goals for 2030 are even more expansive, with a focus on three outcomes: Trust, Equity and Sustainability. This is part of a broader movement among forward-thinking companies, linked to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
These are not just a bunch of happy proclamations that will be forgotten months down the road; these goals will be woven into each and every part of our business. That deep integration is critical.
We’re also integrating these goals into the solutions we deliver for our customers. For example, in order to achieve our Trust goals, we must continue to innovate and lead in developing intrinsic security solutions that anticipate threats. Similarly, our Equity goals depend on our ability to continue to innovate in work from anywhere solutions that secure and empower distributed teams.
Digital transformation lies at the heart of our collective ability to address the complex challenges that humanity faces today. That gives VMware a central role to play, as we are the backbone of digital transformation.
A fundamental part of this effort is our focus on what’s known as ESG: our Environmental, Social and Governance impact. ESG is a standardized framework companies are adopting to more effectively measure and report performance in these critical areas.
Why is this so important to VMware? In part, because it matters to everyone who owns a stake in the success of our business:
Our employees understand that we have a higher purpose in all that we do. We can and will create a lasting impact.
Our customers increasingly expect ESG commitments and data in our products and solutions.
Investors today consider ESG measurements and ratings when making investment decisions, and they prioritize companies that are resilient in the face of sudden change, like the rise of a global pandemic.
Seizing the Moment
Sometimes the challenges we face can seem overwhelming. But 2020 has given us a new sense of urgency to act now in order to build a better tomorrow. There’s no question that digital innovation has a vital role to play, but we need to manage it responsibly.
We must seize this moment. For our children, our grandchildren and every generation that follows.
Pat Gelsinger is the CEO of VMware.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.
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