What role can business—and technology—play in helping achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030?

That’s one of the big questions David Kirkpatrick, Techonomy’s founder and editor-in-chief, tackled in a recent conversation with Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO of Novozymes, the Danish biotech firm that has baked sustainability into its business. Watch the video here. Novozymes specially focuses on the power of enzymes, which for example enable clothes to be washed in colder water, saving vast amounts of energy.

During the interview, Nielsen—a chemical engineer by training—noted that until relatively recently, it was widely believed that the planet could support population growth and other stresses. Sustainable business practices were viewed by most businesses with deep skepticism.

But the adoption of the SDGs in 2015 by all the countries of the world contributed to a significant global change in attitudes toward sustainable business. Now, Nielsen says, C-suite executives, corporate boards, employees, and consumers are all embracing the concept. And there’s a wide understanding that tech can play a powerful role. In fact, people like Nielsen believe that without a wholehearted application of all the tools at our disposal, we won’t reach these ambitious goals for the inclusion of all humanity into the global economy.


It’s encouraging to listen to such a visionary leader. The entire 12-minute video is worth watching.

Nielsen spoke about the SDGs and responsible business at last year’s Techonomy NYC. The theme remains high on our priority list as we continue our discussion about how tech changes everything, at this year’s New York conference May 14-15. Techonomy’s theme for 2019 is “Collaborating for Responsible Growth.” Nielsen is a paradigm of the kind of leader we look for as we continue our dialogue about tech transforming society.