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40% of orgs to embed sustainability into operations by 2024 - IDC releases top predictions

Strong financial outcomes and sustainability focused leadership is required for long term impact, according to a new report from IDC.

In the document, IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Sustainability 2022 Predictions - APEJ Implications, IDC has identified the top 10 predictions for environmental, social, and (corporate) governance (ESG) in 2022 and beyond.

The report provides organisations with context and underlying drivers for IT investments supporting ESG initiatives for the predictions.

According to IDC, the last two years have seen significant debate and mixed results in the area of climate change. The world has experienced a brief reprieve in emissions due to lockdowns in early 2020. However, emissions increased beyond pre-pandemic levels in 2021.

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) has amplified the climate change plan. Even so, critics question whether the agreements articulated are enough.

In the Asia/Pacific region, the drivers that result in concrete sustainability outcomes are still primarily financial, the analysts state.

Examples include customer penalties for lack of compliance, policies from parent organisations, the push for energy efficiency, or access to preferential interest rates through sustainable or green finance, impacting the requirements placed on organisations and their supply chains.

While some governments are introducing policies and initiatives in this area, real leadership is still missing to implement the radical changes necessary to achieve COP26 goals, IDC states.

IDC associate vice president manufacturing and energy insights Stephanie Krishnan says, "ESG issues are, by definition, complex or wicked problems.

"Actions in one area often result in unforeseen consequences in another, which requires line-of-business (LOB) and IT to work together and scale technology solutions to solve these challenges.

"As a result, we are seeing that while technology use does obviously increase energy use, there is significant potential for greater positive impact through technology-enabled sustainable solution development.

IDC's sustainability top 10 predictions are as follows.

1: Sustainable operations: By 2024, 40% of major APeJ companies will have completely embedded sustainability into their operations.

2: Sustainability as technology buying factor: 45% of organisations in APeJ will consider sustainability considerations to be 'very important' for their technology buying decisions by 2024.

3: Emerging sustainability ecosystems: By 2024, 40% of A2000 companies will be participants in broader networks of companies engaged in sustainable innovation to solve 'wicked' problems with significant, long-term innovation potential.

4: Environmental sustainability: By 2024, 40% of major APeJ organisations will have environmental sustainability parameters firmly embedded in their business KPIs.

5: Diversity, equity, and inclusion: By 2025, 30% of APeJ organisations will be tracking their diversity, equity, and inclusion performance using ESG metrics and KPIs.

6: Data privacy and governance: Companies in APeJ will extend their data privacy initiatives to surpass compliance requirements with 45% of enterprises establishing KPIs regarding the ethical use of data by 2024.

7: Sustainable cloud infrastructure: By 2025, 60% of APeJ-based organisations will deploy software tools to monitor utilisation at on-premise, cloud or edge locations to improve utilisation metrics that reduce energy costs improve sustainability.

8: Data Center energy management: 80% of operating high-end data centers and 60% of mid-tier data centers in APeJ will implement an energy management program in order to reduce energy consumption and ensure energy reliability by 2022.

9: Responsible sourcing: By 2024, 40% of organisations will mandate responsible sourcing policies and implement audit and accountability solutions requiring proof of compliance to build trust among consumers and stakeholders.

10: Responsible AI and digital ethics: By 2026, 50% of A2000 companies will prioritise responsible AI solutions as the top area for artificial intelligence services investments.

Each year, IDC releases its Top Predictions through its IDC FutureScape reports to give a crystal ball view of what is ahead for the rapidly changing ICT industry.

These predictions have been used to shape the strategies and business objectives of technology leaders and business executives in the next 1-5 years.

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