Technology key to integrating sustainability into strategies

Kyndryl & Microsoft study finds 16% of organisations have integrated sustainability into strategies while most view technology as key to achieving goals

Just 16% of organisations have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data, according to a study conducted by Kyndryl and Microsoft

The Global Sustainability Barometer study, which was conducted by Ecosystm, finds that while 85% of organisations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data. 

As the world faces an increase in climate-related events and challenges, there is an urgency among businesses to act now using technology to drive sustainable solutions. While 80% of organisations surveyed see great significance in technology’s role to achieve their goals, only 32% believe they are making full use of it in their organisations. 

“Many companies are at different stages of sustainability maturity,” said Faith Taylor, Kyndryl’s Chief Sustainability and ESG Officer. “Companies are applying technology to unlock the full potential of sustainability. They are thinking beyond regulatory compliance to pragmatically execute and advance their sustainability goals.”

Sustainability and digital transformation continue to be a priority

The survey found that while CEOs and boards have made sustainability and digital transformation a priority, they need help with integration and execution of their programs to meet their goals. 61% of organisations use AI to monitor energy use, but only 34% use current data to predict future energy consumption. 

Among stakeholders, customers are the most vocal in advocating for sustainability policies and practices, followed by employees, investors and government regulators.

“Technology has emerged as a key enabler to sustainability success, and its role will only continue to grow with the advent of more sophisticated AI tools,” said Shelly Blackburn, Vice President, Cross Solutions Area at Microsoft. “We are eager to help drive meaningful change and contribute to a more sustainable future in collaboration with Kyndryl.”

Building a more sustainable organisation

The report has identified a number of practices for driving growth and improving business outcomes. These include:

  • Making sustainability a CEO and Boardroom priority aligned with finance and technology. Over 50% of organisations entrust the CEO and the Board with leadership roles in their sustainability functions. Of those companies that have implemented sustainability for more than 10 years, only 24% have full alignment with finance and 44% with technology.
  • Aligning sustainability with technology modernisation. Technology can help to automate, modernise and prioritise sustainability processes and infrastructures. Of the respondents surveyed, 52% use automation to improve efficiencies and build sustainable operations, while 48% digitise their workplaces to support a hybrid work strategy and 47% use technology to reduce the environmental footprint of their organisation. 
  • Building an integrated data foundation. Streamline data management for informed decision-making and successful execution of strategies. A mere 15% of organisations have the capability to provide their employees with real-time sustainability dashboards.
  • Unleashing AI for predictive sustainability. Expand the use of AI beyond reporting to include predictive analytics that assess Scope 3 risks, forecast energy consumption and anticipate potential risks such as natural disasters. 

“Faced with record-breaking temperatures and unparalleled climate-related events, this is a moment that calls for collective action from governments, industries, enterprises and individuals alike,” said Ullrich Loeffler, Co-Founder & CEO of Ecosystm. “Together with Kyndryl and Microsoft, we are honoured to make this study available to forward-thinking organisations everywhere to outline steps they can take today to drive measurable sustainability impact.”

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