Sustainability has evolved from a perception of simply doing good from a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) perspective to being linked to profitability. Leading organisations nowadays see corporate sustainability as an advantage. New technology trends are also pushing organisations to do more, at a quicker pace, in order to maintain their market position. This report finds that successful companies understand the importance of combining technology and sustainability.
At the same time, there are multiple challenges involved with using technologies for greater sustainability. One is a lack of strategic guidance about where to invest time and money. Another is a lack of clarity as to the best type of technologies to harness.
Successful companies are meeting the needs of an increasingly sustainability-conscious consumer base and turning it into a competitive advantage. The report’s key findings are:
- Sustainability is increasingly viewed as a way to increase profit. Besides doing good and contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), companies realise there is a market opportunity in being sustainable.
- Technology is increasingly important to boosting sustainability. Almost all survey respondents recognise the importance of technology. Certain industries are thriving as a result of this commercial opportunity.
- Several technology trends are expected to contribute. Currently led by big data and analytics, but increasingly expected to include artificial intelligence in the development of smart cities in particular.
- The potential benefits of technology are vast. A large majority of survey respondents expect a spending increase on technology over the long-term, which bodes well for companies and society alike.
Is your company ready to tailor with technology?
This is the second in a series of papers and articles from The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by ANZ. This report, and the others to follow, is based on the results of a survey of more than 750 executives across eight markets.
This paper was written by Kim Andreasson and edited by Chris Clague. Findings from the survey were supplemented with research and in-depth interviews with experts and executives. Our thanks are due to the following people, listed alphabetically by affiliation:
- Michael Cooke, Senior vice president, global HSE and sustainability Affairs, ABB
- Mikkel Flyverbom, Professor of communication and digital transformations, Copenhagen Business School
- Mark Milstein, Director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University
- Alexa Dembek, Senior vice president, Chief technology & sustainability officer, DuPont
- Tim O’Leary, Executive director, government and regional affairs & chief sustainability officer, Telstra