Ethical Tech (AmberMac 2019 Tech Trends 2/5)
by Amber Mac on January 7, 2019
Welcome to 2019 (and thank you for all your support in 2018). To kick off a new year, I’m sharing a mini-series of posts covering my top 5 tech trends – these trends will affect the way we work, live, and play.
Earlier this past December, The New York Times wrote an article titled, “Yes, You Can Be an Ethical Tech Consumer. Here’s How“. The author has four recommendations, including boycotting unethical tech companies (remember the ongoing #DeleteFacebook campaign) and slowing down our purchasing greed. To illustrate the latter, here’s one example of how we can rethink e-commerce, “A rush shipment could involve multiple vehicles and various facilities before it gets to your door. So pause and ask yourself if you actually need that smartphone or scented candle tomorrow. If you can wait, choose no-rush delivery, which could take about a week.”
We will also continue to see social responsibility expand beyond the consumer. For example, let’s think about investment dollars into new technologies. In the US alone, according to PitchBook, venture capital investment in US companies hit $100B in 2018. If we dig into these dollars, there are very few memorable headlines about ethical investments, but that is bound to change – especially as executives at large tech companies set new standards.
In terms of momentum on this front, software giant Salesforce leads the way. As CNBC reports, the company will have its first Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer in place this January. However, the north star of ethical business practices is Patagonia. Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg could take a long look at this company’s many years of dedicated corporate responsibility. As one example, just last month, Patagonia announced they will donate $10M it saved in ‘evil’ GOP tax cuts to environmental groups. Plus, for years they’ve provided consumers with access to their supply chain footprint, the kind of thing that the next generation (Gen Z) may demand from the companies from whom they purchase.