What if we could solve world hunger?

September 24, 2018 • Blog Post • Antonio Neri, President and Chief Executive Officer


  • In partnership with the World Economic Forum, HPE launches a new open collaboration focused on bringing together the brightest minds in technology, industry and government to power meaningful societal change by the year 2030
  • Tech Impact 2030 will focus on tackling key societal challenges facing global populations — starting with helping to solve world hunger by 2030

CEO Antonio Neri shares how HPE and the World Economic Forum are convening global leaders to help solve for world hunger by 2030

"What if..."

As a technologist, I've always thought those were the two most important words in our vocabulary. We hear them again and again throughout history. They are the spark that has inspired countless innovations from our earliest days to the present.

There comes a time, however, when we have to consider these words in a different context – to step away from the safe confines of our clean labs and consider how we can use our technology to address the most pressing challenges facing a messy and complex world.

What if...we could use our technology to solve world hunger? What if...we could extend healthcare to those in every corner of the globe? What if...we could, once and for all, lift people out of poverty?

These problems, of course, are huge and complicated. Solving them will require far more than technology. They require the coordinated and concerted efforts of society – government, academia, business and industry, NGOs – throughout the world.

What if...we could be a catalyst that sets the wheels of progress in motion? What if we could take the work we're doing today and drive it forward to achieve a larger goal?

We're going to try. Today, we're announcing a first-of-its kind partnership with the World Economic Forum (the Forum). We're calling it "Tech Impact 2030," an open collaboration focused on bringing together the brightest minds in technology, industry and government to power meaningful societal change by the year 2030.

For each of the global challenges we'll tackle, we will assemble a diverse team of leaders to set goals, develop actionable blueprints and dedicate resources so that we can achieve measurable progress by 2030.

In announcing this partnership today at the Forum's Sustainable Development Impact Summit in New York, we also announced the first challenge were tackling: to help solve world hunger by 2030.

Why food? By applying the most advanced technologies at our disposal to the oldest of human industries – agriculture – it may be possible to solve world hunger by 2030.

As our CTO Mark Potter articulates here, our world is in crisis with hundreds of millions of people – roughly one in nine worldwide – suffering from undernourishment. And if we don't step up now, the problem will only worsen. According to UN estimates, the world's population will reach 8.5 billion people by 2030. By 2050, the Forum estimates, a population of 9.8 billion people will demand 70 percent more food than is consumed today.

Digital technologies – like those we are exploring with Purdue University – offer a significant opportunity to accelerate the transformation of our food systems and drive real benefits in terms of reduced water usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and food waste; increased productivity and farmer income; and reduced obesity and undernourishment of consumers.

In the coming months, along with the Forum, we'll unveil additional challenges across areas like healthcare, transportation, financial services and manufacturing. Together we'll be measuring and reporting on our progress regularly.

So that's the "what" and the "how," but let me also address the "why" behind the entireTech Impact 2030 initiative. The simple answer is: because we can and we must.

At HPE, we have the vision, ambition and scope to make a difference. Our involvement with partners across the entire ecosystem can truly make a dramatic impact. We are inspired by the possibilities.

Think of the incredible digital technologies available to us now, and those that are making a difference – among them artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain; new physical systems such as autonomous vehicles, advanced robotics, additive manufacturing, advanced materials and nanotechnologies; and advances in science such as next-generation biotechnologies and genomics.

We have an obligation to apply them, not just to advance business goals, but to advance the greater good of our world. I am confident you share my excitement that some of HPE's most compelling advancements – like our work in Memory-Driven Computing – will play a key role in overcoming the big data challenges of emerging technologies like AI, breaking through the barriers to create meaningful change.

So, we have the tools and therefore we must try. Our company purpose challenges us to do so: "We bring together the brightest minds to create breakthrough technology solutions that advance the way people live and work."

It's our responsibility to ask and work hard to expose the answer – "What if..."