Businesses put faith in tech for ESG decisions

A new report has found that not all business leaders are confident in the ability of their people to make the right call on issues of sustainability.

22 April 2022 

Instead, the majority of Australian business leaders are putting their faith in automated bots to make decisions in key areas, according to a new study “No Planet B” by Oracle and Pamela Rucker, CIO Advisor and Instructor for Harvard Professional Development.

The study of more than 11,000 consumers and business leaders across 15 countries, including 1,000 from Australia, found that most people are fed up with the lack of progress society is making towards sustainability and social initiatives, want businesses to turn talk into action, and believe technology can help businesses succeed where people have failed.  

“The events of the past two years have put sustainability and social initiatives under the microscope and people are demanding material change. While there are challenges to tackling these issues, businesses have an immense opportunity to change the world for the better,” said Pamela Rucker, CIO Advisor and Instructor for Harvard Professional Development. 

“The results show that people are more likely to do business with and work for organisations that act responsibly toward our society and the environment.

“This is an opportune moment. While thinking has evolved, technology has as well, and it can play a key role in overcoming many of the obstacles that have held progress back,” she added.

Sustainability and social responsibility have taken centre stage in the way the businesses interact with consumers and each other. Business leaders are becoming acutely aware that sustainability efforts are critical to corporate success. 

But the way businesses are responding to these considerations has been mixed, with some business leaders in Australia even trusting bots over humans alone to drive sustainability and social efforts. 

According to the report, 88% of Australian business leaders would trust a bot over a human to make sustainability and social decisions. They believe bots are better at collecting different types of data without error (44%); predicting future outcomes based on metrics/past performance (39%); and making rational, unbiased decisions (38%).

According to the report, 85% of Australian business leaders surveyed believe sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) programs are critical to the success of their organisations. Executives identified the top four benefits as strengthening the brand (36%); attracting new customers (35%); increasing productivity (31%); and improving supply chain management (31%).

The vast majority of Australian business leaders (83%) are facing major obstacles when implementing sustainability and ESG initiatives. The biggest challenges include difficulty tracking progress (32%); obtaining ESG metrics from partners and third parties (30%); and a lack of data with which to track progress (30%).

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