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Sustainability: core of your business strategy

Updated: May 24, 2022

By Sanjay Tugnait | 3 minute read | May 5, 2021

Multiple forces are driving businesses to craft a pathway to a sustainable future. The world needs industry champions to lead the way and drive real transformation, powered by exponential technologies and ecosystem collaboration.

The 2020s are shaping up to be the decade of concrete actions on sustainability. With the global pandemic, more stringent regulations, growing public opinion and investor activism, it is incumbent upon business leaders to reframe sustainability as a core element of their business strategy.

The World Economic Forum reported that the top five business risks are related to the environment. In addition:

  • 62% of CXOs say sustainability is essential to remain competitive.

  • 54% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for brands that are sustainable.

  • 68% of employees prefer companies that have sustainable business practices.

  • 59% of investors will choose companies that are environmentally sustainable.

Bringing the stakeholders together for a better sustainability strategy

This convergence of expectations from governments, investors, employees and customers worldwide, and the combination of a pandemic and a record-setting year of extreme weather events has reminded leaders in every industry that the health of our people, our global economy and the environment are inextricably linked.

Sustainability is now a business imperative, crucial to driving the resilience and agility enterprises need in a world where change is constant.

Early leaders in enterprise sustainability are applying digital technologies, like AI, IoT, blockchain and hybrid cloud, to help operationalize sustainability at scale. In the process, many are uncovering opportunities to increase efficiencies and embrace innovative business models while creating more motivated and inspired employees, and more satisfied, loyal customers.

Balancing the environment with the market

The key to a successful sustainability strategy is to balance environmental drivers with key differentiators and market demands. At IBM, we have successfully co-created market leading sustainability platforms with our global clients across industries:

  • IBM Food Trust provides timely provenance and traceability of products across producers, suppliers and retailers to create a safer and sustainable food system.

  • With Plastic Bank we use blockchain to help clean up the oceans, create circular economies and combat poverty by tracking waste collection and re-use.

  • At Yara we developed the leading Digital Farming platform with AI, IoT and blockchain to provide farmers with insights to improve crop yields.