DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Andy Wilson

If your news and social media feeds are anything like mine, you can’t but help notice the growing volume of content relating to environmental, social and governance (ESG) coming online and becoming mainstream, from investors and businesses of all sizes operating in all sectors. They are undoubtedly important considerations but also difficult for companies to incorporate, particularly if starting from scratch; not least because of the inconsistencies in terminology and measurement across various service providers, regulators and governing bodies. Here is Panamoure’s perspective.

At the end of January, the UK-headquartered asset management company, Aviva Investors wrote to 1,500 companies based in 30 countries. Chief Executive, Mark Versey reminded those companies of the importance of them achieving sustainability targets, which included appropriate levels of transparency and compensation, in order to retain the prospect of investment from that particular investor. That warning comes at a time when ESG has leapt close to the top of the CEO agenda of most larger companies and increasingly to the top of many smaller businesses too.

Aviva’s message also went out at a time that digital transformation has come to the fore as a means to improving the efficiency of companies’ business processes and performance. For many companies, this move towards greater digitalisation has been driven by the restrictions to ‘normal’ business operations forced upon them during multiple COVID-19 lockdowns. It will not be surprising that many companies have experienced great difficulty in maintaining pre-pandemic performance but for some, that managed to grab the opportunity to establish more digital business models, it has proved a fortuitous opportunity to integrate their sustainability, human capital, governance measures and reporting into broader digital transformations.

We see the combination of incorporating ESG practices and digital transformation as highly complementary. As a technology change consultancy, we applaud companies that have taken on such challenges and observe them benefitting from reduced risk and realising significant improvement to operations and profitability.

The sad fact of the matter is that many smaller companies still feel they lack the either the time or capital to invest in a modern, fit-for-purpose digital model. Even fewer have successfully integrated sustainability into a digital framework. This is a missed opportunity, as the importance of ESG practices to investors, business leaders, employees, consumers and regulators is only going to increase.

There is an unavoidable cost involved in transferring old-school business processes to a digital framework, just as there is in attending to increasingly regulated ESG principles and the growing requirement for corporate reporting. But it does make for more sustainable companies and the evidence points to that also making for better performing companies.

On the following pages, we document some of the evidence relating to the growth of ESG measurement and reporting, the drivers for that growth and how a digital first approach can mitigate the costs of fully adopting sustainability principles and practices.

In this report, you can expect to find:

  • The Adoption and Growth of Environmental, Social and Governance Practices
  • Difficulties and Obstacles to Incorporating ESG Practices
  • The Digital Optimisation Roadmap and a Complexity / Benefits Matrix
  • Digital Optimisation and ESG Solutions Within the Panamoure Digital Transformation Roadmap
  • Key Drivers for Increased Sustainbility-Related Reporting
  • Incorporating ESG Into Digital Transformation is a Perfect Combination

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