For large corporations, committing to sustainability and investing in new technologies are both key to staying competitive. There’s also a growing realization that digital transformation and sustainability are inexorably linked. That confluence is having an impact on corporate strategy.
But what does digital sustainability actually mean? It’s about more than energy-efficient data centers or establishing greener supply chains. It’s a holistic approach to building net-zero, water-conscious, wildlife protecting, and otherwise planet-friendly business operations through technology. It looks beyond the core capabilities of software and digital platforms and considers how the efficiencies they deliver can be leveraged for a complementary sustainable outcome.
In practice, it could mean the use of IoT sensors to make building HVAC systems “smart,” optimizing energy use by switching on and off according to occupancy levels on each floor and public area. Another use case could be leveraging digital design tools to identify and stress-test sustainable raw materials for manufacturing.
Those are just two examples from a growing list of real-world applications. In the articles collected below, you can learn more about the positive business outcomes organizations are achieving by blending their digital and ESG strategies.
1. How companies can capture the value of sustainability
What distinguishes one sustainability program that produces business value from one that doesn’t? A new survey identifies the practices that set value-creating companies apart. They’re more likely to make sustainability a strategic priority with specific, measurable objectives. They’re also more likely than others to make sustainability part of their corporate culture, and change processes to enable employees to integrate sustainability into their day-to-day workflow. Read more here.
2. Digital transformation in government can also boost sustainability
Global Government Forum
As governments increasingly turn to digital solutions to improve efficiency and responsiveness, there is an opportunity to catalyze sustainability too. From using AI to optimize location selection for electric vehicle charging points, to extending cloud adoption, there are many ways digital technologies can help governments make practical decisions, support policy goals, and make departmental operations more intelligent. Read more here.
3. How digital transformation and sustainability can flourish together
World Economic Forum
Companies that invest in sustainability generally find that improved resilience, better operational performance and business success follow. According to this article from World Economic Forum, this principle held true in the face of the pandemic as sustainable indices outperformed their parent benchmarks. But the job isn’t done. Improving future readiness means redirecting capital toward sustainable companies, governments incentivizing sustainable activities, customers showing preference for sustainable products and services, and employees demanding sustainable leadership. Read more here.
4. How digital transformation enables greater sustainability
Research from Frost & Sullivan shows that 90% of manufacturing firms in Northern Europe are investing in workflows to improve their energy and material efficiency. Another compelling finding was the common practice of having a dedicated sustainability team in the organization, with 86% in manufacturing citing they do. The drivers? Customer retention, competitive advantage, and meeting supply chain and partner expectations. Read more here.
5. The environmental benefits of digital design
MIT Sloan School of Management
An estimated 10 billion shipping pallets are in circulation at any given moment. That huge footprint has enormous environmental implications: More than 40% of hardwood produced in the US is used to create wooden shipping containers. Luckily, even the humble shipping pallet be an exemplar of the possibilities for improving sustainability with digital-driven design. Read more here.