By Jordan Smith, US Reporter, HCLTech
Sustainability is a key strategic technology initiative that enables environmental, social and governance (ESG) outcomes at scale. ESG is now a top three priority for investors, behind profit and revenue.
In a recent report by Gartner, the research and advisory company noted a sustainability framework is also essential to accelerate digital transformation plans. According to David Groombridge, a VP analyst at Gartner, delivering technology won’t be enough in 2023, and that every technology investment will need to be set off against its environmental impact.
Confirming this, Gartner found that by 2025, 50% of CIOs will have performance metrics tied to the sustainability of the IT organization.
“Sustainable technology is increasingly important operationally—for optimizing costs, energy performance and asset utilization, for instance—but it also drives ESG outcomes such as improving wellness and providing the traceability needed to ensure responsible business practices,” says Gartner Principal Analyst, Autumn Stanish.
“Sustainable technology also facilitates new business models and tech-enabled products to better serve customers.”
Building a sustainable technology framework
Further research by Gartner details how companies can establish a sustainability framework. CEOs that were surveyed in the middle of 2021 reported that they are prioritizing environmental sustainability as a top-10 business priority. In addition, 78 percent of CEOs surveyed agree that ESG investment is a good way to attract customers. Meanwhile, 72 percent of CEOs say it’s a good way to attract investors, and 73 percent of CEOs agree it’s a good way to attract employees.
When accelerating digital transformation, organizations will need a new sustainable technology framework that can increase the energy and material efficiency of IT services. This includes enabling enterprise sustainability through technologies like traceability, analytics, renewable energy and AI. Additionally, the enterprise will need to deploy IT solutions to help customers achieve sustainability goals.
Gartner states that executive leaders focused on driving sustainable business outcomes should do the following:
Leverage sustainable tech to improve quality, scale and impact beyond spreadsheets; and
Identify sustainable tech needed by starting with material issues and prioritize technology investments in material issues identified as very high in importance.
The technology that businesses are using today will help, but executive leaders will need new technologies to deliver sustainable business outcomes. A.P. Moller-Maersk, Unilever and Walmart are all companies working with sustainable technologies. Unilever is using geospatial analytics for monitoring palm oil and enabling farmers to adopt more sustainable practices. Meanwhile, A.P. Moller-Maersk is working on digitalized processes for real-time traceability on a sustainable supply chain and visibility into the supply chain.
Why businesses should implement sustainable technology
While sustainable technology is a framework of solutions that enable ESG, it is also utilized to improve internal IT, enterprise and customer operations. Environmental technologies cover a broad range of environmental sustainability and include climate tech, energy tech, circular economy tech, biodiversity tech, water and food tech.
The goal of these technologies is to reduce environmental and ecological risks and create sustainable products.
Advantages of implementing sustainable technology include reducing risk and improving project outcomes. Utilizing renewable and biodegradable materials indirectly protects the ecosystem and business from negative climate change effects. According to the Harvard Business Review, 48 percent of businesses today use sustainability to improve production and innovation. Making use of resources effectively leads to spending less and gaining more, which helps businesses remain competitive.
Other advantages include improving the bottom line of your business and attracting and retaining top talent. Further, consulting service PwC says that three out of every four millennials want to work for companies with environmental and social standards that meet their own.
“As more companies charter their sustainability initiatives, it’s important to note that they are also enhancing their competitiveness. Corporate purpose plays an important role for employees of the future,” said Santhosh Jayaram, Global Head of Sustainability at HCLTech.
HCLTech prepares for a sustainable future
As governments, investors, consumers and communities seek enterprises around the world that lead sustainability efforts, HCLTech leverages digital transformation acumen, engineering, sustainability-specific partnerships and solutions to collaborate with clients on meeting sustainability goals.
“As the world is put to the test with rising environmental complications and social disparities, we at HCLTech believe that business has an important role to play in overcoming these challenges,’ HCLTech CEO C. Vijayakumar said in HCLTech’s 2022 Sustainability Report.
HCLTech’s sustainability service offerings include components to assess factors driving sustainability impact and advise on the process of digitalization and data management, researching and developing sustainability-focused solutions and process interventions, and also provides data integration, aggregation and contextualization with sustainability performance measured with data-driven reporting and advanced analytics.
It’s sustainability offerings are seen throughout HCLTech solutions, such as FENIX 2.0, CloudSMART, the Simplified ESG Analytics Platform, the Zero Impact Platform, Virtual Distributed Agile Framework and the Demand-driven Supply Chain Network.
It doesn’t stop at the product, though, as HCLTech understands that a true sustainability strategy includes incorporating ESG practices from the top down in its organizational structure.
“We have…embedded [ESG] factors into the very core of our businesses and operations strategy to ensure sustainable and responsible progress for all our stakeholders,” said Vijayakumar.