At 3 Sided Cube, we believe that technology has the possibility to have a huge positive impact on the planet and change millions of lives for the better. We are passionate about helping our amazing clients facilitate this impact through the power of technology.
As part of this interview series, our Co-Founder of our US agency, Puff Story, sat down with Jonathan Seabright, Private Sector Engagement, at WWF to get his thoughts on the biggest challenges for the non-profit sector and how technology really could be of aid, creating an opportunity to have that impact.
What is the biggest challenge your sector is facing right now?
JS: The private sector is moving quickly on climate and conservation by setting ambitious targets and goals which is an important first step towards staying on a 1.5 degree pathway and limiting the effects of global warming. However, meeting those goals in a way that is holistic and ensures long-term sustainability will require companies to innovate solutions that address their environmental issues while protecting vulnerable communities and ecosystems. In order to see the impact that many companies have committed to, the non-profit sector has to be ready to push them to think bigger about their role in solving climate change.
Could this challenge be aided by technology?
JS: Absolutely! To me, the heart of technology is innovation and all companies (and non-profits) can benefit from being more innovative in how they plan to deal with climate change and environmental degradation.
What new and interesting trends have you seen emerging?
JS: A lot of large companies and startups in the tech sector are focusing on how AI can help drive impact relating to climate change. As with using AI in other fields, the technology can scale impact dramatically. Here at WWF we are currently working on a project with Conservation International, using AI to monitor Australian wildlife recovery from the terrible wildfires in 2019 and 2020. The AI will identify wildlife in camera trap photos to monitor how vulnerable species are recovering from the fires.
What do you think are the key opportunities for your sector?
JS: The percentage of donations to environmental or conservation non-profits is only about 3% of total charitable giving. I think that there is a lot of opportunity to connect with individuals more deeply about how our sustainability and conservation work can help build a better future for them and their communities. The more that we can show how protecting and restoring nature, improving our food systems, etc., can materially impact people’s lives, the more they will want to support our work.
What’s your favorite example of tech for good?
JS: I’m a big fan of Global Fishing Watch, which lets users see real-time data on where commercial fishing is happening. One of the key sustainability issues in the fishing economy is transparency, and Global Fishing Watch was able to help solve some of that problem by utilizing already-existing automatic identification system (AIS) data to show and analyze real-time fishing. It is also an open-source project which allows for even more innovation.