SDG 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

We promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation as a driver of employment and growth

#electrical network #R&D

Iberdrola is strongly committed to industry, innovation and infrastructure and contributes directly to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 9. The group is committed to accelerating its investments in renewable energy, digitisation and electric mobility to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation. Thus, in 2020 it will invest 10 billion euros, hire 5,000 new workers and maintain agreements with its suppliers. The company is also the third-most-innovative utility in the world.

OUR CONTRIBUTION TO SDG 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

 For Iberdrola, rolling out reliable, resilient, high-quality and sustainable infrastructure, means moving forward towards the green economy. For this reason it is committed to accelerating its investments in renewable energy, digitalisation and electric mobility as a path towards economic recovery and employment in the wake of COVID-19.

 The company is in a position to be a vector for employment and growth, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and seeking to significantly increase industry's contribution to employment. With this in mind, it has pledged to invest €10 bn in 2020 and continues with its forecast to take on 5,000 new employees in the course of the year.

 The group has already placed forward orders with its suppliers worth around €7 billion so far this year. Iberdrola has more than 22,000 suppliers, generating 400,000 jobs worldwide, and has agreements in place until 2023 worth more than €20 billion.

 Iberdrola group is the third most innovative utility in the world, the second in Europe and the first in Spain, in terms of resources allocated to R&D. In 2019, its investment in this area totalled approximately €280 m which represents an increase of 115 % over the last 10 years.

 World leader in smart grid technology. In recent years, the group's distribution companies have deployed nearly 14 million smart meters — out of a total 20 million planned — in the markets where they operate, and have adapted the electrical infrastructure that supports them by adding remote management, supervision and automation capabilities.

 Global Smartgrid Innovation Hub: Iberdrola has created a global smart grid innovation center to respond to the challenges of the energy transition and lead innovation in electricity distribution networks.

 Plan Digital 2022: the group is planning to invest €4.8 bn in the digital transformation in the run up to 2022, focusing on improving the operation and maintenance of its assets through data analysis and artificial intelligence, and on increasing the availability of its generating plants.

 One of the companies that most support startups in the whole of Europe.

 We lead in the transition towards sustainable mobility thanks to our Sustainable Mobility Plan, with over 20 measures.

 Suppliers Innovation Programme to promote the joint creation of businesses and facilitate access to finance mechanisms.
 

Plan Smart Mobility

 

WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE?

SDG 9 is about the need to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation. To achieve this, industry is expected to contribute more to employment and GDP, doubling this contribution in the least developed countries, as well as increasing scientific research and modernising infrastructures.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO ACHIEVE SDG 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE?

A total of 2.2 billion people do not have access to drinking water and almost a billion live without electricity around the world — 840 million, according to data from the World Bank in 2020 — which represents over 10 % of the world population. However, on the subject of communications infrastructure more than half the population is connected and almost everyone in the world lives in an area with mobile phone coverage 96.5 % had 2G as a minimum — according to the UN SDG Compliance Progress Report in 2020 —.

According to the UN, industry, innovation and infrastructure are the three main pillars of sustainable development. They are also essential for business and therefore for social and economic development. The UN goes on to explain that, for example, every job in the manufacturing sector creates 2.2 jobs in other sectors of the economy.

Economic growth, social development and action against climate change depend to a large extent on investment in infrastructure, sustainable industrial development and technological progress. But basic infrastructures, such as roads, information and communication technologies, sanitation, electricity, and water, continue to be scarce in many developing countries.

In its 2019 report on progress in meeting the SDGs the UN remarked that investments in research and development reached $2 tn in 2016, a huge increase compared to the $739 bn for 2000. However it warned that industrialisation in the least developed countries (LDCs) is too slow to reach the target for 2030. The aggregate industrial output per capita in the least developed countries was $114, whilst in Europe and North America it reached $4,938. Moreover, the medium/high and high technology sectors made up 45 % of the world aggregate industrial output (2016), while the proportion was only 15 % in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Nevertheless, if world manufacturing growth had already decreased even before the COVID-19, pandemic, it is now much more critical, since the crisis brought about by the virus has severely affected manufacturing industry, causing interruptions in the value chains and in product supply. This situation is especially serious in countries in the process of development, where manufacturing jobs represent an essential source of income. The devastating effects of COVID-19 threaten to halt or even reverse all the progress achieved thus far in relation to SDG 9, the UN warns.


Progress can only be achieved with advancements in technology, and this requires the promotion of sustainable industries and investment in scientific research and innovation. The existence of roads in good condition, reliable electricity, good sea and air connections, as well as a universal Internet connection, are the measures recommended by the UN to remedy this situation.

Facing the current situation and reversing the trend that these data reflect has become a primary objective at international level. This is why building resilient infrastructures, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation became SDG 9 of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, approved in September 2015 as part of 2030 Agenda.

IBERDROLA ALIGNED WITH THE SDG

KEYS TO UNDERSTANDING THE LACK OF R&D INVESTMENT IN THE WORLD

WHO DOES IT AFFECT?

Companies' productivity is reduced by 40%
Between 1 and 1.15 billion people cannot access reliable telephone services

In countries where there is no investment in innovation, normally in development, only 30% of agricultural production undergoes industrial processing

HOW IS THIS DISTRIBUTED AROUND THE WORLD?

The 10 countries with the least investment in innovation are concentrated in Africa, Central America and South America:

3.5

3.0

2.5

2.0

1.5

1.0

0.5

0.0

Haiti

Mauritania

Swaziland

Yemen

Nicaragua

Zimbabwe

Venezuela

El Salvador

Chad

Moldavia

MAIN CAUSES

Not knowing that a country's sustainable, inclusive and social development goes hand in hand with investment in R&D; budgetary cuts in some countries; and the bureaucratic difficulties in some regions for establishing new businesses.

HOW CAN WE PUT AN END TO IT?

The public sector and private companies must provide funds to enable investment in research; we have to restructure the education system in order to foster the creation of ideas and new projects; and we must establish standards that guarantee the sustainable management of projects and business initiatives and facilitate the procedures for forming new companies.

 

 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: Keys to understanding the lack of R+D investment in the world [PDF]

SDG 9 TARGETS: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

The specific targets set for 2030 are:

  • Develop high-quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.
  • Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation.
  • Increase the contribution of industry to employment and GDP, and double this contribution in the least advanced countries.
  • Modernise infrastructure and retrofit industries to become sustainable, using resources more effectively and promoting the adoption of clean and environmentally-rational industrial processes and technologies.
  • Bolster scientific research and improve the technological capacity of the industrial sectors in all countries.