Your business sustainability goals could be achieved from within

Woman running her business from home.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The focus on sustainability throughout the corporate world has been well-documented. However, capturing, managing, and deriving insights from the data to inform and support actions to advance sustainability goals can be challenging. 

To help outline the problem and possible solutions, we recently spoke with Bill Lobig, VP, Product Management, IBM Automation – who shared his insights into what IBM, as well as business leaders, are doing to address these challenges.

To operationalize sustainability efforts, how can an organization leverage data across their enterprise and tap into intelligent automation solutions?

Just this month, we released an Institute for Business Value (IBV) report, The ESG conundrum, which revealed that although an increased focus on environmental sustainability remains a top priority for business executives, inadequate data is a key challenge for corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals.

Data is the forcing function for change and making sustainability data visible and actionable, is imperative. By leveraging that data, while also embedding AI and intelligent automation into core business operations, organizations can see an increase in productivity; reduce costs, waste, and emissions, and meet regulatory requirements.

Without data, sustainability cannot be acted upon, and progress can be difficult to measure.

How can technology be used to limit the use of resources so that organizations can actively manage their energy usage, IT systems, with the hope of bringing down emissions?

Any technology leader tasked with ensuring business objectives and sustainability goals firmly align must consider inserting software into their broader tech stack that highlights, as well as accurately captures, data related to emissions and energy outputs.

This will enable them to make data-driven decisions related to their organizations ESG and Sustainability goals are more acutely allocate resources appropriately.  It’s critical that organizations readily communicate data related to reductions in energy consumption and associated GHG emissions, from the IT operations level to the corporate sustainability team.

Ensuring visibility for enterprises who are committed to meeting ESG, and sustainability objectives not only enhances the ability to report operational data more accurately, but also automatically feed operational data into an enterprise system that tracks performance, saving time and resources.

Why is measurement and data critical for meeting sustainability and ESG goals?

Without data, sustainability targets may not be visible, actionable, or operational.

By creating a system of record for companywide data that supports ESG performance management and streamlines ESG reporting, organizations can improve operational consistency and the audit-readiness of data to make the reporting process more efficient and accurate.

Thus, enabling these organizations to identify energy savings opportunities and prioritize energy efficiency projects.

What advice would you provide a business leader who is tasked with overseeing the intersection of data and automation across an organization, and would like to play a larger role in helping support sustainability goals?

As a leader your expertise and commitment to sustainability specific technology solutions is essential to ensuring the digital stack is accurately enabling the capture and management in ESG-related data for your organization.

Business leaders should lean into their entire organization’s infrastructure and leadership to advocate for the use of technology that helps address sustainability goals. But it is impossible for this work to be done in silos and leaders must foster collaboration across business units to influence operations across individual workflows and ensure these efforts can ladder up to overall organizational ESG goals.