For a long time now, ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) has been on the fringe of businesses. A useful PR and tax strategy component, but not much more than a feel-good factor. All that is changing. Today, sustainability is key to organisational success. Here’s why, and how tech can help you deliver on these goals.
Why is ESG essential to the future of your business?
Well, let’s start with one line from a recent Gartner survey:
CEOs reported that environmental and social changes are now a top three priority for investors, after profit and revenue.
For the first time EVER, sustainability is listed in the top 10 business priorities. And that’s no small matter! This has been driven by consumer awareness of sustainability issues, with a BBC study showing that 81% of Aussie consumers believe that a commitment to sustainability adds brand value. What’s more, 79% say it is an important purchasing consideration, and 68% say they’ll pay more for products from brands with strong sustainability practices.
If you have a strong and demonstrable commitment to sustainability, your brand is more trusted – and that’s what matters most when revenue and profits are on the line. Because if you can’t show you share these values (or are doing lip service at best), they’ll turn their back on you.
Lastly, it’s important to your employees, helping you attract and retain your talent. According to Mercer studies, businesses with high ESG scores are seen as more attractive to employees, improving job satisfaction and retention rates. When it comes to Gen Y employees, which are about to make up the biggest portion of the job market, 96% claim ESG goals are very important to them in terms of working for a responsible business and giving people a sense of purpose, making your business look great to job hunters.
How tech helps you meet ESG goals
- Remote working solutions –Remote working reduces your employee’s carbon footprint as well as the footprint of the business overall. No commutes, smaller offices, and reduced electrical and water use all work together to make you greener. It also helps your business go paper-free.
- AI, the IoT, and automation – From smart building systems that monitor and customise energy and water usage to systems that reduce wastage in manufacturing plants and supply chains, AI and automation make businesses more efficient and therefore more sustainable. Using the IoT, you can gather information from any system in your organisation, pulling data to identify opportunities for resource efficiency, optimising equipment performance, and more.
- Cloud solutions – Not only is the cloud the most secure place for your data, it’s also the greenest space for it! Service providers like Microsoft provide LEED certified data centres and are heavily investing in green data centres like this one in New Zealand, which runs off 100% renewable energy from wind, hydro, and solar sources. They have also committed to match 100% of their global energy consumption with carbon-free energy purchases by 2030.
- Big data opportunities – Using systems that collect and analyse huge amounts of data can also present opportunities to realise ESG goals. For example, using tech to create new distribution channels for societal good, like access to essential goods and services, identifying new transport links, supporting financial inclusion, and creating customer-centred delivery solutions that have a lower carbon footprint as well as delivering a better customer experience.
Being a truly sustainable business takes time, commitment, and investment – but the long-term benefits and opportunities are right in front of you. Chat to the IT consultants at Otto about building and delivering the tech you need to tackle these changes and make the world – and your business – a better place to be.