The role of technology in achieving sustainability goals

Image of two people working with the title The role of technology in achieving sustainability goals

Global, Sep 18, 2023


Author: Charissa Jaganath, Head of Responsible Business

Technology has undoubtedly revolutionised the world. Seen as the fourth industrial revolution, it has transformed everything from how we work and spend our free time, to how we shop and interact with others. While this evolution has created some incredible benefits, it has also occurred during a time of deepening climate crisis, as the amount of energy it consumes grows. However, technology and sustainable approaches are not mutually exclusive. There is a duality to technology and sustainability; while technology itself must be made more sustainable, the way we use technology may be the key to acting more sustainably and tackling the climate crisis.

In recent years there has been a huge shift in the approach to corporate sustainability, as well as ESG (environmental, social, and governance) more widely. From being a ‘nice to have’ statement at the end of an annual report, it is now a ‘need to have’ as it increasingly becomes a mainstream topic.

Driven in part by consumer awareness of rising temperatures and climate catastrophes, everyone within an organisations orbit will have their view on how businesses should be tackling the climate crisis. From employees who want to work for an organisation that takes their responsibility seriously and shareholders who are seeing the value generated by organisations with a clear ESG agenda to customers who are becoming more selective about the partners they work with.

In fact, having a robust ESG approach, in particular strong sustainability initiatives, is quickly becoming a competitive differentiator. Research from risk and portfolio analytics provider Axioma backs this up showing that companies with better ESG scores outperformed those that did not. So, if the answer to gaining competitive advantage and tackling the climate crisis is a strong ESG approach, then how does technology fit?

One of the most important aspects of any ESG approach is being able to collect, manage, and accurately analyse, data. Without benchmarking an organisations’ starting point, it is impossible to implement a meaningful ESG strategy, and this is where technology holds the key.

Technology is the ultimate enabler, allowing organisations to move from planning and initial data capture to operationalisation and setting, then meeting, its targets. On top of this, the technology itself can help to provide sustainability credentials for technology and its infrastructure. For example, by utilising technology to understand energy outputs, savings can be identified and channelled back into sustainability efforts. 


A study from Environmental Science and Pollution Research ‘recently found that the adoption of digitalisation can unlock the potential to achieve a circular economy which can lead us towards net-zero’. It asserts that emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and IoT can contribute significantly, however, there needs to be awareness among organisations of the incredible potential held in emerging technologies to promote sustainability.

To truly benefit from the technological revolution whilst being conscientious of environmental impact, leaders should look to partner with organisations that are already leveraging cutting edge technology to support sustainability goals. By leveraging deep expertise in emerging technologies, leaders can create sustainable business outcomes across digital infrastructures that not only reduce carbon emissions but create clear business efficiencies.



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