Why companies think sustainability is a trend in 2022


Sustainable mindset in successful companies

According to a global survey conducted by The Harris Poll for Google Cloud, many executives are prioritizing sustainability at their companies.

Executives also said they are looking to invest more in sustainability and technology than in any other area this year, though they confess that they are not quite sure where to begin on the journey to sustainability.

Despite best intentions, executives confidence in sustainability efforts may be misplaced. The issue appears to be one of goals and measurement. More than half of executives said their company may overstate its companies sustainability efforts, a practice known as greenwashing. About two thirds said they questioned how authentic their sustainability initiatives are. Furthermore they found it really difficult to find accurate measurements that can be used to define standard metrics and drive the improvement.

Data and measurement tools for more genuine sustainable initiatives

Despite having programs in place to advance sustainability initiatives, executives don’t necessarily know if they’re overstating their efforts, or how to benchmark them. Without the necessary data to track impact, how does one actually know how their efforts are doing? To remedy that, they want to understand which initiatives are moving the needle in their corporate sustainability initiatives.

While many respondents seem both proud of their results, they’d also like to see better accountability and action. Only 36% of respondents said that their organizations have measurement tools in place to quantify their sustainability efforts, and Authenticity and measuring the impact of sustainability projects only 17% are using those measurements to optimize based on results.

As a result, communicating authentically when implementing sustainability programs can be a challenge. Over half (58%) of executives say their organization is guilty of greenwashing — conveying a false impression or giving misleading information that says a company’s products or practices are more environmentally friendly than they actually are. Overall, 66% questioned how genuine some of their organization’s sustainability initiatives are.

The truth is, there’s confusion on how to approach sustainability. About two-thirds of leaders agreed that they want to advance sustainability efforts, but don’t know how to actually do it. Overall, executives would have more clarity and transparency about the impact of their sustainability initiatives on the environment and their business if they had better tools and technology to measure it. And, 87% of respondents said that if business leaders can be more honest about the issues they face with becoming more environmentally sustainable, they can make more meaningful progress.

Technology is key to transforming corporate sustainability

When asked, 74% of executives agree that sustainability can drive powerful business transformations. To achieve this, companies need technology solutions — cloud, AI/ ML, satellite imagery, data analytics — now more than ever to simplify their ability to act on sustainability. Technology innovation is the top utility executives believe will impact the sustainable growth of their organization and the sustainability of the planet at large, with 91% of respondents agreeing that technology makes it possible to be more sustainable. Furthermore, technology (62%) and sustainability (55%) are the top two areas where executives plan to increase investment in 2022.

source: Google Cloud

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