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10/14/2021 Read time: 3min

Digital transformation in sustainability: The importance and urgency in our times

By: David Chávez Share:

The signs are very clear, our planet is facing critical challenges and is demanding us to respond in a serious and timely manner. Climate change, natural disasters, environmental risks, and increasing pressure on natural resources are driving sustainability as a strategic pillar in organizations.

In this sense, the digital transformation of processes is a key aspect in the successful execution of the changes to be made in a very short time. According to the World Economic Forum, by 2022 more than 60% of the world's GDP will be digitized, and it is estimated that 70% of the new value created in the next decade will be based on digital platforms.

This is where the concept of digital sustainability becomes relevant. Through this holistic approach, a company can boost its sustainable management through investments in technology.

How do Digital Technologies Promote Sustainability?

As the pressure for greater environmental responsibility from communities increases, digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud storage are helping to achieve sustainability goals in a variety of ways.

One of the keys to contribute to a greener world from technology is in anticipation and proactivity, and that has a lot to do with prediction. Digital tools make it possible to overcome barriers such as geographic dispersion and effectively monitor KPIs to identify behaviors and anticipate possible non-compliance. In a scenario where environmental regulations are constantly changing, the ability to stay ahead of the curve in an agile manner is paramount.

Achieving these predictions requires the ability to develop analytical models that are constantly fed and fed back to achieve high accuracy and deliver real-time information.

Sustainability at the core of the business

Including sustainability in the business model has become an "adapt or die" issue. Companies around the world prefer to purchase products and services from companies that can demonstrate a sustainable operation and consequently help them to "green" their own supply chains.

At the same time, investors are shifting their investments to companies with higher Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) ratings, and it is no wonder that these organizations stand out and outperform their industry peers.

These changes are forcing companies to transform themselves to ensure their long-term viability. Sustainability today demands urgency and goes beyond communicating the organization's impacts on the environment and communities, it involves embedding sustainability at the core of the business.

Technology and digitalization are fundamental tools and processes to achieve this goal. Integrating them into all areas and operations of a company will change the way it operates and deliver value to customers and investors.

Looking to the Future

Digital transformation and sustainability are very promising factors for the future of business and there is no doubt that they will be incorporated as key elements in business, the only question is when, but we are already late.

Likewise, the authorities and regulators are also doing their part. We are observing in some countries where the authority has anticipated the initiatives of the companies, incorporating technology to improve control levels and facilitate audits. Companies that do not incorporate technology will find themselves at a great disadvantage when it comes to dealing with auditing processes.

As we can see, the digitalization of sustainability is a process that has already begun; it will be a snowball of local, regional, and global demands for which we must be prepared. We will see the next signs at COP-26 to be held in Glasgow.

We are convinced that the evolution towards a long-term sustainable growth model is not feasible if it is not considered as a strategic pillar of the business and if we do not advance in the digital transformation; therefore, this is no longer an option, but a necessity.

 

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David Chávez

David is Service Manager at M-Risk. He has more than six years of experience in management and inspection of Environmental Projects; focusing mainly on Sustainability Reports, Legal Requirements and Commitments. He is an Engineer in Environment and Natural Resources and has a Diploma in Public Policies in Environment and Environmental Management.

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