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SDGs through a patent lens

Season 3, Episode 7

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Episode 7  in Season 3 of the Cipher Vision Podcast series features Marco Richter, Global Head of Customer Success at LexisNexis Intellectual Property.

He highlights the important role that patents play in helping us to become more sustainable, discussing the benefit of measuring innovation in relation to the UN Sustainable development Goals (SDGs).

He chats to the hosts of the Cipher Vision podcast, who are:

Listen to Marco’s Key Takeaway

Conversation Highlights

The link between SDGs and patents

Companies, governments and researchers around the world, within the United Nations have come together to define a path to global sustainability. 

They have not only defined goals, like ‘let’s make this a planet worth living on’. No, there’s a clear path to that goal. 

We extracted the technologies identified as bringing us closer to these goals. And we translate these into the language of patents and we now make them available to whoever is interested in them with the click of a button.

How critical is innovation to the UN SDGs?

In the first year of COVID, greenhouse gas emissions went down, but only by 6.4%.

If I think about a world in which we have to achieve a reduction by 50% by 2030, and to achieve net zero by 2050, to expect humans to simply change behaviour and achieve these goals, is not going to get us there, not by the far short. 

So I believe that technology is absolutely mission critical in helping us to achieve these very ambitious goals. 

On consumers demanding change

Companies cannot ignore sustainability. If they want to have markets to sell to in two to three, five hundred years to come. They need to change behaviour now, because that’s what the consumers on all levels, B2B or B2C is demanding. 

As we compare the patents that we have mapped against the United Nations SDGs with the ones that are not directly linked and associated, we see the Value Indicator that we’re calculating, based on forward citations and market coverage, is 50% higher for SDG related patents than for unrelated patents. 

And that is typically an indicator of increased interest, other innovators in this area and ultimately, an increased market demand.

The importance of measurable data

We need clear data, evidence and transparency on where we are with regards to the goals, in order to be able to see where we’re going next and whether we are on the right track to get there. 

I absolutely see us in that position of delivering very crucial data points around technology and innovation. 

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Looking at the top 100 companies

We’re already seeing organisations across the globe shifting research and development dollars towards sustainable innovations.

It is absolutely worthwhile pointing out Samsung as not only being one of the largest companies in the world by revenue, or even the size of their portfolio, but also their absolute contribution in terms of technology strength towards sustainability.

They’re in the top 10 with the likes of Toyota, Qualcomm, LG, Huawei and others.

To put the top 100 into perspective, they contribute close to 30% of the entire innovation strength towards sustainable innovation. The top 300 in total are contributing 40%. So these are the 300 companies that have significant impact, but they do not stand alone on our path to sustainability.

What does the future hold?

I believe this is really just the beginning, organisations are becoming more transparent on their path and contribution to sustainability.

The rest of the world, outside these companies will listen. We know that investors are already starting to take these new data points into consideration.

I’ve never seen a more promising time for us to finally bridge the gap between the treasures hidden in IP and the rest of the world.

Marco Key Takeaway

So now that we have put all the hard work in to make this data easily accessible, I would like to encourage all the listeners of this podcast to start acting and look at the data for their own companies, for their peer groups and start to develop their own understanding on where they are on their path to sustainability.

Nigel Key Takeaway

This provides a perfect opportunity as Marco was saying, for patent data to shine a light on who is investing in which technology. This is the transparency that is essential to ensuring that the investment required to deliver at pace is allocated optimally. 

The work of PatentSight with the full support of LexisNexis Intellectual Property is to be congratulated for its mapping of patented technologies to SDGs. This, as we’ve just heard, is already being used by major companies in the United States, Europe and Asia and at Cipher. 

We look forward to supporting this mission with our unique approach to technology classification.

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