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Software Drives ESG

Technology can help corporations improve their ESG (environmental, social, and governance)—but how exactly? We often think of sustainability software solutions as being able to help organizations track and report their ESG performance and provide relevant data to improve their operational performance—and they certainly do. But there is a little bit more to the story than just that.

For the past several years, we have been talking about the impact of using software in corporate settings to improve environmental sustainability, but now one new survey suggests software is also needed to monitor social sustainability.

In fact, the IDC (Intl. Data Corp.) survey shows social sustainability topics account for the largest share of use cases for sustainability software. This includes human and social capital uses such as DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), employee health and safety, data privacy, human rights, and product access and affordability.

This is evident in the 2022 Global Sustainability Software Buyer Value Survey, which gives a glimpse into IT buyers’ priorities and spending intentions regarding software that helps achieve sustainability goals.

The survey addresses social sustainability issues related to human capital management are among the top business value benefits that organizations expect to achieve by using sustainability software solutions.

Also, the software plays a key role across all use cases related to internal operations, meaning there is a great need for comprehensive solutions that capture information across an organization.

Interestingly there is a new trend in this year’s survey to take note of. Respondents to this year’s sustainability software survey say IT plays a bigger role in enabling organizations to track their ESG performance for reporting purposes and driving desired business outcomes. The blend of responsible IT and line of business functions requires software vendors to successfully convey their value proposition to both buyer groups.

Here is another great point from the survey. Given that improving operating costs and fulfilling executive mandates are among the top investment drivers for sustainability software, the software needs to help organizations actively manage their sustainability performance, instead of simply “checking off boxes” for ESG reporting.

Executives need to be asking the hard questions about what the ESG goals are exactly and how technology can help. Metrics need to be constantly measured and reported. They need to be tracked and maintained. We can’t just be doing software for ESG for the sake of using software for ESG. We need to have a clear purpose and clear metrics otherwise we won’t see the success that is needed today.

What are your thoughts? How has your company approached ESG software? Is it just for environmental sustainability or is it also being used to monitor social sustainability? In what ways can we all move forward together? If we don’t take big steps today, our planet and our businesses will face big consequences later.

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