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'Sustainability goals not matching ambition in global businesses, study reveals'
Tue, 5th Dec 2023

According to a recent study, the measures taken to combat climate change and steer the course towards a sustainable future are not keeping pace with the ambition. Although 85% of organisations attach significant strategic importance to achieving their sustainability goals, only 16% have successfully integrated sustainability into their strategies and data.

This comes from findings of a new report, cryptically named "The Global Sustainability Barometer." The study is a joint effort by IT infrastructure services provider Kyndryl and Microsoft, examining attitudes towards and efforts in sustainability among businesses.

The research involved input from 1,523 technology and sustainability business leaders across nine industries in 16 nations in Asia, EMEA, and the Americas and was conducted between September and October 2023. 

The study also reveals that while 80% of organisations see a considerable role for technology in achieving their sustainability targets, only 32% believe they are utilising its full potential within their operations. This gap signals a potential missed opportunity for many businesses in their quest for sustainability.

Faith Taylor, Chief Sustainability and ESG Officer at Kyndryl said, "Many companies are at different stages of sustainability maturity. Companies are applying technology to unlock the full potential of sustainability. They are thinking beyond regulatory compliance to execute and advance their sustainability goals pragmatically."

Shelly Blackburn, Vice President of the Cross Solutions Area at Microsoft, reiterated the significance of technological solutions. She stated, "Technology has emerged as a key enabler to sustainability success, and its role will only continue to grow with the advent of more sophisticated AI tools."

Shelly Blackburn continued, "We are eager to help drive meaningful change and contribute to a more sustainable future in collaboration with Kyndryl."

Besides the overarching finding that more integration of sustainability is needed, the survey highlighted a few critical trends. It noted that 61% of organisations utilise AI to monitor energy use, but just 34% use current data for predicting future energy consumption.

Furthermore, customers prove to be the main advocates for sustainability policies and practices, followed by employees, investors, and government regulators.

Key recommendations to drive sustainable growth and improve business outcomes include prioritising sustainability for CEOs and Boardrooms, aligning sustainability with technology, building an integrated data foundation, expanding AI for predictive sustainability, and empowering employees.

While the world faces record-breaking temperatures and extraordinary climate-related events, achieving sustainable practices becomes more urgent than ever. Ullrich Loeffler, Co-Founder and CEO of Ecosystm said, "Faced with record-breaking temperatures and unparalleled climate-related events, this is a moment that calls for collective action from governments, industries, enterprises and individuals alike."

"Together with Kyndryl and Microsoft, we are honoured to make this study available to forward-thinking organisations everywhere to outline steps they can take today to drive measurable sustainability impact," said Ullrich Loeffler.