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Kyndryl and Microsoft Study reveals 68% of organizations in India rely on tech to drive sustainability success, spurred by customer demand

Kyndryl in collaboration with Microsoft, today released the Asia Pacific edition of The Global Sustainability Barometer study. Conducted by Ecosystm, the study evaluates the sustainability landscape in India, the disparity between intent and operational implementation, and highlights how sustainability initiatives can stimulate innovation, foster growth and bolster competitiveness.

Amidst a surge in climate-related events and challenges globally, there is a heightened focus on environmental sustainability and leveraging technology as a key enabler of sustainable solutions in India. While 68% of the survey respondents see great significance in technology’s role in achieving their goals, only 34%believe they are making full use of it in their organization. Additionally, customers emerge as the most influential stakeholders advocating for sustainability (60%),followed by employees (52%) and supply chain partners (40%).

“Organizations are at diverse levels of sustainability maturity. Visionary companies are harnessing technology to meet regulatory standards and to pursue sustainability objectives effectively. They are leveraging technology to fulfill customer expectations, reduce expenses, and innovate, thereby unlocking the full potential of sustainability,” said Faith Taylor, Chief Sustainability and ESG Officer, Kyndryl.

The study outlines the essential components requisite for successfully executing a sustainability initiative: strategy, people, and technology. AI emerges as a game changer, as organizations can elevate their decision-making processes with refined data-driven insights, mitigate risks, optimize resource allocation, and bolster their overall sustainability efforts with the incorporation of predictive AI into sustainability strategies. However, accessing data still poses a significant challenge. Over 50% of organizations find their sustainability goals hindered by the difficulty in pinpointing relevant data and integrating all necessary information for environmentally conscious decision-making. This underscores the potential to establish a robust data infrastructure capable of powering predictive analytics for sustainable planning and resource management.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • While 86% of organizations in India recognize the significance of sustainability in shaping business strategies, only 16% have prioritized sustainability goals and built them on real facts and data.
  • 41% of organizations integrate sustainability initiatives in their reporting primarily for compliance.
  • The Indian government significantly influences sustainability adoption, with 89% of organizations acknowledging its role.
  • While 79% of organizations use AI to monitor energy usage and emissions, only 20% use it to predict future energy consumption, 26% for predicting and preparing for natural disasters, 26% to recognize inefficiencies and 28% to identify risks.

Drivers to Building a More Sustainable Organization

Below are sustainability best practices aimed at driving growth and improving business outcomes:

Make sustainability a CEO and Boardroom priority aligned with finance and technology With over 55% of sustainability officers reporting to the CEO and the CEO defining the vision of sustainability programs in 93% of organizations, it’s clearly a top-down governance approach across Indian companies. However, only 17% of organizations report achieving full alignment between their sustainability and finance teams, highlighting an urgent need for enhanced integration. While a higher percentage, (39%) align sustainability teams with technology, there is a need for stronger alignment as technology driven measures are easier to quantify and drives innovation.

Align sustainability with technology modernization – Technology plays a pivotal role in automating, modernizing, and prioritizing sustainability processes and infrastructures. The study reveals that 56% of organizations in India leverage digital tools for hybrid work strategies and 55% use AI and automation to enhance efficiency, reduce environmental footprint and build sustainable operations.

Build an integrated data foundation – Streamlining data management to facilitate informed decision-making holds the key to the successful execution of strategies. However, the study highlights that only 11% of organizations in India offer their employees real-time dashboards for monitoring their ongoing sustainability goals and accomplishments.

Unleash AI for predictive sustainability – Considering the vast data resources available to organizations, the strategic imperative lies in harnessing predictive analytics for comprehensive scope 3 risk assessment, anticipatory energy consumption forecasting, and proactive measures against natural disasters. About 28% of organizations utilize AI to identify scope 3 risks using public sources, indicating a need for growing awareness of the broader environmental impact beyond direct operations.

Empower employees – While many organizations have made efforts to raise employee awareness and clarify their roles, the lack of measurement hinders the ability to link these efforts to overall progress. Only 14% of organizations set sustainability KPIs relevant to employee roles, indicating a need for clearer metrics and better alignment with employee responsibilities.

“India aims to reduce carbon intensity of economy by 45% by 2030 – this will require collective action from governments, industries, enterprises, and individuals,” said Ullrich Loeffler, Co-Founder & CEO, Ecosystm. “Together with Kyndryl and Microsoft, we are pleased to offer this study, providing forward-thinking organizations with actionable steps to drive measurable sustainability impact.”

The Global Sustainability Barometer study, conducted by Ecosystm in collaboration with Kyndryl and Microsoft, was conducted among 1,523 technology and sustainability business leaders across 16 countries in Asia, EMEA, and the Americas. The survey took place between September – October 2023. The survey was conducted across nine industries and included small to medium and global companies. Learn more about the study “From Vision to Impact: The Global Sustainability Barometer.”

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