The tech leader's sustainability agenda has been saved
The tech leader's sustainability agenda
5 key areas CIOs can utilize to drive the sustainability of technology
As organizations across industries seek to reduce their carbon footprint and deliver against governance and equity-related goals, CIOs are finding themselves in a more pivotal position—one that is expected to drive results, help transform sustainability efforts, and foster sustainability implementation across the enterprise.
Read on to discover how CIOs can move the needle on their corporate sustainability agendas and how they can partner with Deloitte to unlock capabilities that set them up for success.
- The time is now
- Download the report
- The tech leader’s sustainability agenda
- Three levels of sustainable organizations
- The five core sustainability capabilities
The time is now
The time for sustainability action is now. The mission to arrest climate change and drive sustainability is clear. The CIO’s role, however, is often not so well defined. In a previous publication, we shared perspectives on a CIO’s call to action in driving an environmentally sustainable tech agenda. This article maps where the CIO and technology leaders can likely make the most immediate impact—and help build toward a long-term legacy of positive outcomes. It focuses on five core capabilities a CIO may need to develop to lead sustainability efforts that can benefit the enterprise, the planet, and society.
Three levels of sustainable organizations
Companies across the globe are reorienting their internal and external initiatives and strategies to help chart a path to net-zero. The below graphic explains three types of sustainable business organizations and the efforts they often put in to meet, enhance, and exceed their stakeholder requirements.
The five core sustainability capabilities
The five sustainability capabilities encompass one overarching strategic dimension of sustainability and four tactical or action-oriented functions that address sustainability capabilities specific to the CIO’s role. The capabilities are mutually reinforcing and not mutually exclusive.
- Charting and achieving a path to net-zero: From climate equity to waste and water conservation, CIOs can make significant advancements utilizing technology to help their company achieve net-zero carbon emissions and become more environmentally healthy.
- Building and enabling value chain responsibility: For most companies, the biggest portion of emissions—as much as 90%—comes from their value chains. Creating a more transparent process and implementing sustainability best practices can help strengthen supply chain resiliency and monitor for risks.
- Making quality and transparent disclosures: CIOs can lead on the effort to improve the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of disclosures. New and current platforms and solutions can support the validation, screening, and analysis of data to identify gaps and areas for improvement.
- Managing physical and transition risk: More than three-fourths of surveyed CEOs and CFOs say their companies are unprepared for the climate risks their companies face. CIOs can help companies prepare for this concern and support sustainability risk management by helping organizations assess the likelihood of future climate hazards and their impacts on the organization’s physical assets.
- Activating equity inside and outside the organization: As more organizations address structural inequities and transform long-held beliefs and behaviors, CIOs can lead on several equity-related efforts. CIOs can also address ways in which technology can sometimes be a source of inequality. Certain technologies, such as AI, analytics, and robotics, can raise ethical considerations in the way they are designed and used (amplifying bias and uneven treatment of individuals).
Going further for the future
This is the time for thoughtful, strategic, human-centered action on sustainability. The sustainability of technology is a hot-button issue that will not fade with the passing of time, it will only become more pressing. CIOs have an opportunity to create effective strategies and actionable change that fosters equity, inclusion, and transparent data sharing.
Read our most recent report detailing more on the above five capabilities here, and be sure to dive into our further insights on this important subject matter.