Sponsored by e-Boks

Ulrik Falkner Thagesen, CEO in e-Boks.

With the Digital Finance ­Revolution Comes Great Responsibility for ­Sustainable Development

The digital revolution has transformed the world’s ­financial systems at every level and ­digitalisation has affected every area of life, not just financing. Incumbents in the financial ­sector must deliver on a vision of creating more sustainable digital societies by protecting and ­safeguarding citizens’ rights and the environment.

Companies across the world have committed to solve many of the world’s biggest problems and eliminate world poverty and hunger, reduce inequalities, ensure good education and better health for all and sustainable economic growth.

193 countries – including Denmark – adopted the UN plan “Transforming our world – The 2030 agenda for sustainable development”. The plan includes 17 world goals for sustainable development. Most of the goals have the common denominator that technology will play a crucial role in solving the problems to be tackled.

“We are living in a world in rapid transition, and one of the major drivers is digitalisation. As with so many other areas undergoing rapid and transformative innovation, deciding whether this is a good or a worrying trend, depends on the values and the governance we apply,” says Ulrik Falkner Thagesen, CEO in e-Boks.

e-Boks is a secure digital mailbox which can be used by private individuals and businesses to receive electronic mail. The company provides an essential part of the societal infrastructure that provides the backbone for modern democracy – not only in the Danish society where more than 90 per cent of the population uses e-Boks but also in Europe. In totalmore than 18 million users globally receive or store highly important, private and confidential information every day in e-Boks – and the number of new users expects to grow yearly with more than 15%. The impact increases and the need to address a sustainable future becomes even more urgent.

“It is our vision to create better digital societies, and keep contributing to the sustainable development of society through the digital transformation experienced across Europe in recent years – leaving no one behind,” Thagesen says and adds:
“With the fundamental rights of the citizen as our cornerstone, the business of e-Boks fully relies on the continued trust and confidence of our clients and users. e-Boks has policies, codes of conduct and standards for how we conduct our business, which also applies to our suppliers and partners.”

Human rights at the core of the business

Everyone has the fundamental right to respect for his or her private and family life. The Global Goals spells out the need to protect the dignity and autonomy of the individual by adhering private and confidential information, including the storing and sharing of data; the right not to be ­subject to unlawful state surveillance; and the right to control the spreading of information about individuals private lives. This is something that e-Boks does not take lightly.

“At e-Boks, the individual’s right to privacy is non-negotiable. It is a driver for how we design our systems and products; it underpins our governance structure. It is a key criterion for when we enter new markets and geographies. By protecting the rights of the individual, we contribute to the societal infrastructure that forms our modern democracy,” says Thagesen.

The Nordic countries form the most digital region in the world and Denmark has a long tradition of supporting and addressing human rights. It can be easy to forget that the democratic rights of the individual should never be taken lightly. The truth is that many people in the world are struggling to exercise their fundamental rights, for example, the one billion people in the world who, according to the World Bank, live without proof of identity. They struggle to access basic services – including access to healthcare and finance – and may miss out on important economic opportunities, such as formal employment or owning a registered business.

Every time we open one million digital mailboxes, we strengthen one million people´s legal rights, protect their fundamental freedoms, secure their legal identities, and enable their secure and transparent access to public and private institutions. In this way, we contribute to the social infrastructure that forms modern democracy, say Thagesen and adds:
At the moment there is a lot going on in the area of standardisation, and a number of countries are moving from closed national systems to open international standard solutions. In Europe, all markets are heading towards eDelivery and eIDAS, and regions outside the EU are also starting to refer to them.

In 2018, e-Boks adopted the CEF e-Delivery technology that allows the secure exchange of sensitive data within the EU. This means that we will be able to offer citizens, businesses and authorities an easy and secure way to exchange data across national borders through our platform.

Killing the printers – saving the environment

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), more than one million tons of paper in the world is used – every day. Much of this paper usage, even if recycled, is wasteful and unnecessary and puts enormous pressures on the environment – on forests, water and air quality, waste streams, biodiversity, and climate change.

“As we grow our business, the environmental footprint of our partners and users is reduced correspondingly. Today, thanks to the massive adoption of e-Boks in the Nordic public and private sector, and with business-to-business and business-to-consumer users following close behind, we contribute to saving 8,000 tons of paper, 2.8 billion liters of water, and 64,000 trees from being cut down” says Thagesen and adds:
Digitally, we can provide access to paper-free documents, minimizing both the use of paper and the physical transportation of letters. We can store safely – throughout a lifetime – without taking up any physical space. Clearly secure digital communication presents a great opportunity for protecting our environment.

That said digitalization is not a free lunch. Data centres around the world consume vast amounts of energy. The amount of energy consumed by the world’s data centres is set to triple in the next decade, putting an enormous strain on energy supplies and challenging our ability to halt global warming. Our ambition is that we by 2030 can rely on 100% carbon neutral data from our data centre suppliers,” Thagesen says.

*e-Boks is ­committed to SDG 12: ­Responsible Production and ­Consumption and SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions