The lack of investment in the right technology is a significant barrier to achieving true sustainability because technology is critical for transforming operations, socialising initiatives more broadly, and measuring and reporting on the impact of sustainability efforts.
As climate change continues to have catastrophic impacts, the corporate world has begun to take notice. Climate-induced wildfires, massive storms, and deadly heat waves have awakened the corporate world to the planet’s stark realities of climate change.
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Companies are increasingly prioritising sustainable changes to how they operate, with sustainability and environmental impact becoming top of mind for executives across the world.
Prioritising sustainability : Leadership view
At VP and C-suite level, ESG initiatives were a top and rising priority for executives in the survey at 64 percent, ahead of other initiatives such as optimising customer experience (59%), driving revenue (56%) and research and development (53%), as per a new global survey by The Harris Poll (January 2022).
Executives across industries are prioritising sustainability. Interestingly, 71 percent of leaders in Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods are amping their efforts to triage ESG efforts of their organisations. Supply chain and logistics, manufacturing and financial services industries are following suit.
Growth stage companies are particularly invested, with 74 percent making ESG one of their core priorities.
Authenticity, Impact Measurement and Green Hypocrisy
There seems to be a significant discrepancy between companies’ perception of their sustainability efforts and their actual ability to measure and quantify them, which is a cause for concern. Majority of companies neither have measurement tools in place to quantify their sustainability efforts nor are they using those measurements to optimise based on results. What will transform organisational sustainability? The answer is technology.
Companies need technology solutions – cloud, AI/ ML, satellite imagery, data analytics – now more than ever to simplify their ability to act on sustainability. Deeptech built into sustainability measurement tools like Plastic/Carbon Footprint Calculator, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA),
Environmental Management System (EMS), Supply Chain Mapping will help organisations optimise sustainability efforts and report genuine progress.
Barriers To Overcome
The lack of investment in the right technology is a significant barrier to achieving true sustainability because technology is critical for transforming operations, socialising initiatives more broadly, and measuring and reporting on the impact of sustainability efforts. Without the right technology, businesses may struggle to accurately track and analyse their sustainability progress, hindering their ability to make meaningful improvements and ultimately achieve their sustainability goals.
Another crucial barrier to achieving true sustainability is the lack of comprehension and knowledge of the issue. Without understanding the complexity of sustainability challenges, companies may struggle to implement effective solutions and prioritise sustainable initiatives.
This highlights the need for increased education and awareness among executives and employees about the importance and impact of sustainability.
Beacons Of Hope
Fortunately, many companies are still in the early stages of their sustainability journey, focusing on planning and initial implementation phases of sustainability programs. The technology industry is taking the lead with 68% of executives planning aggressive investments in sustainability. Retail industry follows at 55%, and financial services at 54 percent.
Visionary leaders are prioritising investment in the right technology to overcome barriers and drive powerful business transformations towards a sustainable future. They are the future - as are their organisations.
—The author, Bhagyashree Jain, is the founder of The Disposal Company, a Sustainability-Tech startup backed by Accenture. She is a renowned name in the Waste Management and Climate-Tech space and is also an ESG Consultant to young startups, companies and investment firms. The views expressed are personal.
(Edited by : C H Unnikrishnan)
First Published: Mar 18, 2023 12:53 PM IST
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