Why the grass is green on both sides when it comes to digital transformation and environmental sustainability
By David Mills, CEO, Ricoh Europe
Ricoh Europe, London, 15 November 2021 – Whether it’s food pairings, sporting tandems or superhero duos, certain combinations just work. One lesser-known complementary coupling is digital transformation and environmental sustainability initiatives.
New research commissioned by Ricoh Europe reveals that 67% of business leaders believe that corporations have a responsibility to respond proactively to global challenges such as climate change. Yet only 34% see technology as an enabler of sustainable business practices. There’s no denying that digital transformation can help organisations improve their environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) performance. It also supports the collection of data required to measure it effectively. So why is there a disconnect?
Sadly, corporate social responsibility initiatives are still viewed by some as ‘nice to have, but not essential’. They tend to fall first victim to budget cuts and the reshuffling of business priorities. But they shouldn’t. With the introduction of ESG frameworks and the COP26 summit focusing global attention on climate change, priorities are starting to shift.
A change of mindset is required in order for leaders to fully realise that environmental sustainability actions accelerate digital transformation. Often without realising, leaders are embracing technology that not only makes life a whole lot easier but reduces environmental impact. For example, almost half of the leaders surveyed have introduced cloud technology (45%), hybrid working (45%), and big data (42%) solutions. These deployments share a number of commonalities – not least the ability to improve energy efficiency while capturing data relevant for ESG reporting.
While there is a clear lack of appreciation for how digital transformation and sustainability initiatives often go hand-in hand, there is no shortage of external prompts at play. The European Union is spearheading a global drive with a range of regulations and initiatives. This includes the European Green Deal and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive that will require organisations with over 500 employees to disclose their non-financial information, effective financial year 2023 onwards.
Business leaders know they need to do more to improve ESG performance and reporting. But that can feel like battling a sea storm, not least with the required resources being harder to secure than ever before. In addition, new legislative requirements can make knowing where exactly to invest almost impossible.
The answer lies in not treating business success and ESG success as mutually exclusive. After all, natural pairings have a habit of coming together for the greater good.
Discover how Ricoh can support your digital transformation and ESG ambitions here.