Harnessing sustainable technologies to drive business growth

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Harnessing sustainable technologies to drive business growth

Operationalising sustainability for business value.

Sustainable technology  which uses the power of innovation to remedy or prevent environmental issues and foster economic and social development  is coming of age. 

In fact, sustainability is now widely recognised as a top initiative for executives. Better still, it’s considered one of the top 10 strategic technology trends that organisations need to explore in 2023, according to Gartner. 

Sustainability traverses all of the strategic technology trends for 2023.

In a recent Gartner survey, CEOs reported that environmental and social changes are now a top three priority for investors, after profit and revenue. 

“Executives must invest more in innovative solutions that are designed to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) demand to meet sustainability goals. To do this, organisations need a new sustainable technology framework that increases the energy and material efficiency of IT services, enables enterprise sustainability through technologies like traceability, analytics, renewable energy and AI, and deploys IT solutions to help customers achieve their own sustainability goals," according to Gartner research.

Mike Young, Endava's head of APAC sales suggests that sustainability requires a two pronged approach.

“The first [layer] is about building technology that will have a limited impact on the environment and natural resources. The second is really around repeatability, essentially will the company be able to use this technology indefinitely without running into issues on their modernisation journey with skills, resources or regulations.” 

Setting and achieving sustainability goals to mitigate or solve environmental issues has never been more important. Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are projected to increase by 1 percent in 2022, hitting a new record of 37.5 billion tonnes, according to scientists at the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27).

Operationalising sustainability

With that in mind, for businesses to succeed in achieving their sustainability targets, it requires sustainable tech implementation at an operational level.

“For companies to succeed in today’s economy, focusing more intently on implementing sustainable tech into everyday operations, not just for employee and shareholder satisfaction, is key in maximising continued growth. Ultimately, the choice around supporting or resisting sustainable tech is slowly becoming extinct,” Young said.

“Technology is an enabler, not an end in and of itself. A first step towards becoming a business that fosters sustainability and creates resiliency is understanding your challenges. Breaking them down into bite-sized steps will help with the implementation of technology and processes quickly and more nimbly than ever before, enabling companies to drive action and business impact quickly. We call this digital acceleration," he said.

According to Young, digital acceleration is key for businesses in navigating and responding to the ever-increasing ESG legislative requirements and regulatory shifts. 

Digital acceleration ignites the development of responsible technology through a measured and considered approach. A company’s ability to focus on smaller, quicker-evolving decisions will create opportunities to consider the societal, economic, and environmental impacts of decisions. Focusing on effective gradual change can help minimise the risk of setbacks or negative implications, meaning acceleration and transformation is achievable.” 

Roadblocks to success

There are some common barriers dragging down the chain. Competing priorities of business growth, sustainably development, and the cost of capital are some of the big ones. 

“For many companies, it’s not necessarily a lack of understanding or desires that are holding them back from creating a more sustainable approach, but rather concerns over budget, or the unintended impacts on the wider business. Uncertainty is a large motivator that prevents companies from accelerating forward.” 

Making matters worse, many companies aren’t adopting a holistic view of sustainability instead opting to focus on a piecemeal ‘green tech’ approach, Young believes.

“It’s understandable that some companies focus on piecemeal ‘green tech’ when faced with a specific challenge. However, this isn’t an effective way for companies to tackle their digital journey. The adoption of effective sustainable technology over time, implementing it into everyday operations and taking a holistic approach will pay off far more than a piecemeal approach.” 

The business impact of sustainability

While businesses that leverage sustainable technologies can deliver positive impacts for the environment, they can also create value, cost savings, competitive advantage, attract and retain top talent, and ensure compliance  improving the bottom line, and saving face reputationally. 

In many areas, the payoff for incorporating sustainable technology is not just in perceptions of the company but in the financial results. It is also important to remember that, at its core, sustainable technology doesn’t have an expiration date looming that will force another overhaul of technology and processes.” 

But embracing sustainable tech is a journey.

“Finding sustainable solutions is not something that will happen overnight or all at once. My advice for companies is to not try to do everything immediately, instead find areas of the business that can improve and seek out more sustainable technology solutions that will deliver improved outcomes for the business. With this approach, momentum will build within the business for sustainable tech as the improved results continue to roll in.” 

For further details about sustainable technology transformation visit Endava’s website: https://www.endava.com/en/About/We-Care

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