Friday Five: Plugging the sustainability skills gap

3 min readJul 14, 2023

Zone’s Mark Sylvester handpicks and shares the five best news stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

1. Plugging the sustainability skills gap

Brands may be racing to embrace sustainability like a long-lost friend, but there’s still a lack of suitable skills to put those intentions into practice. That’s why Microsoft believes its Sustainability Academy is a blueprint for ensuring that environmental expertise is available to all.

With that expertise, organisations can not only cut their carbon footprints but also boost their bottom line and lower systemic risk. Sounds like a win, win and win.

2. Ensuring the web really is worldwide

While many of us take our digital connectivity for granted, for many in the developing world, it’s still just a dream. Figures released by the World Bank reveal big disparities across the globe in internet access and smartphone ownership.

In some areas, it is holding back social and economic development while making it more difficult for those places to trade and connect with the developed world. Working together for a global digital revolution really is good for us all.

3. The privacy battle rages on

As more personal data enters the digital sphere every day, the fight to keep our privacy is an every-moving feast. The latest round follows an agreement between the European Commission and the US to allow personal data to pass more easily across the Atlantic.

While Americans have protection against electronic snooping by US spy agencies, foreigners don’t. As privacy activists challenge the decision, it’s a reminder that customers need to be reassured that their personal data truly is protected.

4. It is personal with AI

For brands and customers, the right product, at the right time, delivered the right way, is something of a Holy Grail. And it’s a sweet spot that could be filled by the latest developments in generative AI.

The bots’ ability to sort and understand data from different sources to create a fully rounded customer profile opens a world of possibilities for far richer engagement. Perfectly reliable data-driven decisions may be within reach.

5. A shining example of sustainability

Solar panels may be a brilliant solution to renewable energy, but let’s face it, they can be an eyesore. Enter a group of smart Dutch start-ups turning solar power into art.

By using cutting-edge solar tech with an artistic touch, they have begun cladding building facades with full-colour panels in a series of beautiful designs. And since it gives panels bigger areas to work with, you also get more solar bang for your buck.




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