Study Finds Many Companies Have Yet to Integrate Sustainability into Overall Strategy

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(Credit: Kyndryl)

by | Dec 19, 2023

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Kyndryl and Microsoft have released results from their Global Sustainability Barometer study, finding that while sustainability and digital transformation have been prioritized by many companies, only 16% have tangible data showing successful integration of sustainability into their strategies.

The study, done by Ecosystm, found that 85% of organizations place a high strategic level of importance on achieving sustainability goals. However, some companies have not yet quantified their impact meaningfully or have just built sustainability initiatives into existing reporting processes. The report claims that most companies have taken a short-term approach to sustainability and suggests instead exploring new market opportunities that promote more carbon reductions and cost savings in the long run.

Many Companies Struggle with Target Initiatives, Face Data Limitations

A major obstacle that companies face in implementing sustainability strategies is choosing which areas to prioritize, according to the report. Without setting clear and specific targets in a manageable number of areas, sustainability impact is difficult to assess, or even act on. Easily measurable metrics, such as financial implications of environmental fines, are often prioritized, so data limitations also reportedly keep companies from making changes needed to meet sustainability targets.

The survey also found that CEOs and boards require assistance with integrating and executing sustainability and digital transformation programs. Businesses reportedly see the significance of technology in meeting such goals, but only 32% claimed they were making full use of technology in their organizations.

Many of the steps that companies may take going forward, as suggested by the report, include some aspect of technological innovation.

Report Recommends Making Sustainability a Boardroom Policy, Aligning with Modernizing Technologies

To improve on making quantifiable progress going forward, the report recommends companies align sustainability with finance and technology as a CEO and Boardroom policy as a way to ensure long-term success of sustainability initiatives.

In order to prioritize sustainability, various technologies may be used to streamline reporting processes or reduce the environmental footprint of a given organization. The report found that 52% of respondents use automation to improve efficiency and build sustainable operations. Companies are also increasingly using AI for efforts such as monitoring energy use, but the report claims more could use data to predict future energy consumption and further improve energy efficiency.

With companies struggling to quantify impact, the report recommends building an integrated data foundation to ensure that sustainability strategies are properly executed.

“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 of cross solutions area at Microsoft. “We are eager to help drive meaningful change and contribute to a more sustainable future in collaboration with Kyndryl.”

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