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Three Ways CIOs Can Play a Key Role in the ESG Strategy

By Umme Sutarwala - September 19, 2022 4 Mins Read


If they don’t already, CIOs will soon play a key role in their company’s sustainability team, developing new IT/digital infrastructure, services, and solutions, as well as vital data platforms that will support sustainable business strategy. The task appears to be overwhelming, but taking a few crucial steps can make it more efficient.

According to the 2021 Consumer Intelligence Series study by PwC, 76% of consumers would cut ties with businesses that treat workers, communities, and the environment unfairly. More than 75% of employees and customers are more likely to purchase from and/or work for a company that takes a stand for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues.

Here are some crucial factors for CIOs to take into account while supporting Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) efforts.

Also Read: Top Four Attributes of Efficacious CIOs

Identify and prioritize enterprise ESG objectives

The first step in assuming IT ownership of the ESG strategy is to identify the main objectives of the organization and comprehend which ones may be primarily supported by the technology function. They need to ensure that the business objectives are in alignment with their ESG plans.

The amount of time that enterprises should devote to this phase depends on how developed their Environmental, Social, and Governance strategy is. While some businesses have successfully communicated their goals across the whole organization, others still have trouble doing so.

Obtain support and create a business case for strategic ESG projects

After determining how digital strategy efforts best serve the organization’s ESG goals, firms should socialize ideas and suggestions across the enterprise and begin to build buy-in from colleagues. It is crucial to convey that many of these concepts require more than just IT and digital technology to be realized. A clearer understanding of which initiatives could be the most practical to adopt can be obtained by proactively addressing Environmental, Social, and Governance opportunities with the other enabling roles.

Companies should weigh the trade-offs between the value created for the enterprise and the level of effort to implement to decide which initiatives to prioritize after analyzing their digital transformation strategy with their ESG objectives in mind and achieving alignment with necessary partners and stakeholders.

Companies should also develop a business case for those top priorities and start laying the digital groundwork for a bigger ESG strategy.

ESG activities have a similar organizational-wide impact to digital transformation and require cross-functional coordination to be successful. The CIO is in a striking position because of their responsibility across all business units and functions to bring together the enterprise leadership to design, organize, and advance the Environmental, Social, and Governance agenda.

Also Read: How Development Data Security Operations Can Benefit Businesses

Measure what is essential

It’s critical to comprehend both the exact ESG goals that businesses must achieve and the KPIs they will use to track their success. For this reason, organizations ought to adopt a contemporary reporting environment that supports high-quality data, traceability, and accessibility. As more business groups, investors, customers, and other external parties call for transparency in ESG initiatives; the latter will become more and more critical.

Companies should first make sure that their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are in line with their top priority Environmental, Social, and Governance objectives. Also, they should create a data platform that enables businesses to collect and examine ESG data after that quickly. In order for the firm to evaluate historical data and make better-informed decisions as ESG objectives and efforts change, this platform must include advanced analytics capabilities.

To analyze carbon footprint, green revenue, and other indicators in real-time, companies should ensure that others in non-technical jobs can easily access and engage with data as required.

ESG goal fulfillment is a marathon, not a sprint. However, research demonstrates that businesses that place a high priority on sustainability benefit across the board, and this fad will only continue as more stakeholders—including consumers, investors, and employees—express their expectations for Environmental, Social, and Governance.

CIOs can play a pivotal role in the ongoing success of these initiatives by getting clarity on how IT can support corporate objectives, ensuring that the IT environment reflects this focus, and putting in place the appropriate data environment to report on progress and disseminate results with all relevant stakeholders.

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Umme Sutarwala

Umme Sutarwala is a Global News Correspondent with OnDot Media. She is a media graduate with 2+ years of experience in content creation and management. Previously, she has worked with MNCs in the E-commerce and Finance domain

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