Sustainability has been a major trend and is now a board issue. However, despite the rush to adopt and implement sustainability-related initiatives, most organizations are still unable to successfully implement them. Deepa Param Singhal, Vice President, Cloud Applications, Oracle India, shares with us how technology can be used effectively to accelerate the journey to sustainability
Some edited excerpts:
What is the first important step for business leaders to take in their ESG journey?
The most important step is commitment. Get business leaders to commit time to frequent meetings. Business leaders and CIOs should create an ESG working group that meets every three months and is made up of executives from every department in the company.
This “ESG working group” ensures that leaders from all areas of the company take responsibility for the company’s ESG activities and deliver results for ESG objectives. Even with the greatest of intentions, without representation at the highest level, it is all too easy for these goals to fall by the wayside.
How can business leaders engage employees as part of their ESG mandate?
Millennials and Generation Z will make their financial decisions and select employers based on their beliefs and ethics. Therefore, companies need to embed a culture of sustainability into their organizational DNA and make ESG a key capability and part of their operational backbone. Here are some examples :
• Hold a candid discussion with employees and customers about how ESG affects them personally. Have ESG coaches, champions and sponsors working with employees to gain their support for business goals. Collect ideas from employees and customers on how to improve ESG strategies.
• Emphasize the role of ESG in corporate culture; delivering internal and external communications that support your organization’s commitment to change.
• Confirming that you have met your commitments.
What steps should business leaders take to set achievable goals?
Business leaders need to set benchmarks that are realistic, clear, quantifiable, and most importantly, achievable. In order to see results, leaders must start by setting achievable goals for the first year that are achievable. Several examples of these might include:
• Business leaders should set realistic goals and clear, quantifiable benchmarks and— By the end of the first year, create a net-zero carbon emissions goal and implementation plan.
• Strive to reduce Scope 1 emissions under the company’s direct ownership or operational control by 5% by the end of the year.
• Complete “One Big Project” (an initiative that really matters to your employees) in one year.
• Increase your profit margins to contribute to global change (dedicate a small portion to an effort that makes the world a better place.) Establish an operational governance strategy for sustainability and climate risk reporting and disclosure.
Why is it essential to have a single, clean source of data to progress in ESG initiatives?
According to our recent No Planet B survey, 98% of Indian business leaders surveyed said they face major obstacles when implementing sustainability and ESG initiatives. Top challenges include obtaining ESG metrics from partners and third parties (51%); a lack of data (39%); and time-consuming manual reporting processes (46%).
It is nearly impossible to accurately quantify and track progress in an organization and find the skills that drive progress without a clean data source.
ESG data is collected from various systems across the organization, such as HR, supply chain, finance, and customer experience applications. These systems can turn into powerful recommendation engines that help increase efficiency and reduce waste when integrated with advanced technology like AI. Therefore, business leaders should look to invest in solutions that allow them to connect, manage and standardize data across all systems to increase planning and execution and accurately report progress. .
For example, an organization that operates and manages supply chain data on the same platform as its financial data will be able to reduce costs and carbon emissions by discovering the most efficient transport routes and approaches. effective. Simultaneously, these connected systems would be able to rapidly report carbon emissions from GHG Protocol Scopes 1, 2 and 3 to demonstrate the impact that the increased operational efficiency of logistics operations has had on its ESG objectives.
How can artificial intelligence (AI) help organizations make progress on ESG?
Technology can now play an important role in advancing ESG initiatives. In fact, 98% of business leaders in India believe that artificial intelligence (AI)-based technology would be better than humans at making decisions on sustainability and social policy.
By leveraging AI and automation, business leaders can collect various types of ESG data without error, reduce the time it takes to manually obtain and review this key information, better manage the complications of integrating data into global supply chains and uncovering the keys to sustainability insights that can boost their competitive advantage.
This makes it much easier and faster for business leaders across departments to work in partnership, track progress, and discern clear paths to achieve set goals.
How can business leaders make their goals more transparent and publicly share key milestones?
There must be accountability if significant organizational change is to be mobilized. Being open and honest about your organization’s goals means clearly and publicly communicating where your organization is, where it wants to go, and the specific steps it is taking to get there. Increased openness fosters a strong sense of responsibility and helps bridge the gap between goals and results.
Therefore, business leaders need to be transparent with their stakeholders, even when an organization is falling short of certain goals. Similarly, when major milestones are reached, this should be communicated and celebrated. Recognizing this type of success will help the cause gain momentum and generate more enthusiasm to work towards even better results.
We all have a role to play in advancing our organization’s ESG efforts. By establishing an ESG suite, bringing the workforce into the fold, setting clear goals, having a single source of data, leveraging cutting-edge technology, and leaning into openness, business leaders can indeed make ESG a priority and accelerate progress.
What role do specialized solutions play in helping organizations develop scalable, transparent and dynamic supply chains? And how do they contribute to ESG objectives?
Specialized solutions with built-in AI capabilities meet the specific needs of organizations. For example, while SCM solutions have been in the market for some time and have helped organizations across all industries create more sustainable supply chains. It is essential to recognize that not all businesses operate in the same way; some are more public sector oriented, while others are more consumer oriented, and so on. This is where specialized and industry-specific solutions excel.
Recently, in our Oracle CloudWorld, we launched an industry-centric SCM solution for the healthcare sector – one of the key sectors of our company’s economic and public structure. Unstable supply and demand in the healthcare industry creates complex challenges for healthcare organizations, making it difficult to predict supply shortages, manage complex pricing, quickly replenish orders and maintain product availability. accurate invoicing. These challenges lead to unnecessary expenditure of time and money on administrative tasks, affecting the ability of healthcare organizations to provide optimal patient care. To solve this problem, we launched SCM for Healthcare, which helps hospitals and clinics improve the quality of care, plan more efficiently, reduce costs and manage more responsive supply chains.
In terms of ESG, specialized solutions help organizations plan and develop data-driven processes based on their business operations and requirements, resulting in much smarter, more efficient and consistent ESG processes.