Sustainable development and quantum technologies: a point of view

How quantum technologies can help drive the UN’s sustainable development goals

In 2015, the United Nations, with all its member states, defined a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all.” These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are intended to address global challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.
Governments and companies around the world are looking to employ key technologies and approaches to achieve their committed sustainability goals; As we have seen over the past decades, technology often offers a way of accelerating the pace of change, in particular using new disruptive technologies.
At Capgemini, we believe that quantum technologies could have significant potential to positively impact the SDGs, but to a clearly varying degree. While quantum will not be a panacea for all ills, in certain areas it offers a new platform for innovation with the potential to transform key activities in a number of industries and domains, and therefore on the UN’s goals.
This paper explores how quantum computing and quantum sensing, still at early stages of development and operational maturity, could in the future have real-world application and potentially help to address these sustainability goals. For each goal, we identified the relevant industries and related use cases that could potentially impact the goals through primary and secondary research.
Quantum may or may not deliver quantum advantage in all the use cases / applications as discussed in the paper.  Our goal is to look at the art of possible – a typical first step in the exploration of a new technology for a specific purpose.   Also we do not assert that quantum technologies alone can resolve these major and, some might argue, intractable problems facing the world, but we believe that they should be considered as additional potential future solutions, when so much has been tried and failed.

To learn more about the UN’s SD goals and how quantum could be leveraged, download our point of view.