Climate change transformation looks set to be the biggest driver of organisational change over the coming decades. For most businesses, this will be like a natural extension of — not a break with — their digital transformation agendas.
There are quite a number of people that care deeply about the climate and the issues surrounding it. For those individuals, the beginning of 2020 might have brought some optimism. It did seem like the world had finally reached an integral turning point and that sustainability was at the forefront of decision making across a vast array of sectors. Even though the pandemic might have forced organisations to temporarily prioritise their own survival, there have been signs that the pandemic will only help amplify the pressure that CEOs face to treat climate change as the existential threat it is.
In certain markets, the pressure comes from the state. However, even in nations where policymakers have been slow to act, businesses and corporations have seen their climate action strategies come under increased scrutiny from their customers, investors and even their employees.
However, when business leaders do not appreciate the fact that climate change has to be taken seriously, quite a number of them are still uncertain of how to effectively integrate climate concerns into their current corporate strategies. For the majority of the previous decade, business leaders watched as industries became disrupted virtually overnight by more agile, tech-driven competitions. Consequently, the majority of businesses have focused their attention into transforming digitally as it can enable them to better compete against a new brand of rivals.
This does beg the question of if there is a possibility that climate change might become the primary agenda driving decision making rather than digital transformation? The answer is far from clear. In fact, it does appear that these issues are to be seen as two parallel priorities and the most effective way would be to simply move out of the way of market change, staying the course to the point where the two agendas can be seen as dual sides of a coin.
These two agendas are bound to exist is some form of symbiotic relationship. This means that digitisation will enable companies to meet their decarbonisation targets, whilst the pressures of climate change can aid businesses to justify accelerated investment into digital transformation. There is a growing realisation, that climate change is fundamentally a data challenge and these questions, particularly of data democratisation sit right at the heart of the digital agenda.
Quite a lot of money has been spent during the last decade to provide stakeholders with a more direct and faster access to customer data, financial data, workforce data and more.
Now, these businesses are realising that they might need to have the same approach with climate data. Once again, it will appear that climate action does not demand a reallocation of resources from digital transformation but rather a repurposing and re-contextualisation of digital methodologies.
A positive to this approach, however, is that businesses that are swift to effectively respond to the pressures associated with climate change are those with leaders that fully internalise this relationship between the climate agenda and the digital agenda. Additionally, there are implications for the type of service providers that businesses will end up turning to in order to support their decarbonisation journeys; consulting firms with already strong reputations as digital leaders will find themselves better placed and more equipped over their competitors to stake a claim in the ever-growing sustainability services market.
As reported by Information Age