How can IT businesses measure sustainability?

In today’s fast-paced and evolving marketplace, considering whether businesses need to integrate sustainability into their strategies is no longer an option

In addition to driving environmental change, these initiatives can help contribute to a company’s overall success. Consumers are now happy to spend more if they know that the organisation they are purchasing from is sustainable, boosting the business’ profitability in the long run. What’s more, companies with higher ESG ratings are more likely to outperform their competitors in the market, so making the initial investment in sustainability best practices can drive real and subsequent returns.

Benefits of measuring sustainability

With that in mind, organisations need to begin measuring their sustainability performance, allowing them to make continuous improvements, track progress, evaluate areas of strength and make data-driven decisions. This is an internal process that requires business leaders to select key sustainability metrics that will provide real-time data to mitigate risks. Measuring sustainability allows companies to identify their impact on the triple bottom line factors of environmental, social and governance.

Additionally, sustainable companies are better prepared for unexpected circumstances as it creates resilience in comparison to their unsustainable competitors. Measuring sustainability as an internal process will provide businesses with areas to focus on to reduce risks and build out a contingency plan. For stakeholders, sustainability has become a key performance indicator for businesses and measuring these factors can help organisations further engage with a diverse range of people who have a vested interest in ESG.

KPIs to measure sustainability success

Data is vital for businesses in their drive to become more sustainable, and establishing KPIs will allow them to measure results against predetermined targets to uncover the success of their strategy implementation. There are a number of KPIs that businesses can use to create actionable sustainability indicators:

Carbon footprint

Carbon footprint is somewhat of a buzz word in the IT sector, but it is infact one of the most important KPIs to measure against as it encompasses the company itself, its suppliers and customers. By measuring their emissions, businesses can assess how their products or services are impacting climate change.

Consumption of energy

Organisations can also look into how much energy their operations consume and build a better understanding of where they can use less resource to boost cost savings for the company. Business leaders can look to implement digital tools that will help measure how much energy is being used in different areas of the organisation.

Waste reduction

As customers are becoming more conscious of sourcing product materials and recycling, businesses need to start making some changes to their procurement processes to remain competitive. They can do this by monitoring their waste management to ensure that their products and services are sustainable, or could be part of a circular economy.

Social impact

Consumer buying behaviour is constantly changing, which can often determine what information a business needs to report in terms of its suppliers, environment, social and governance. This stresses the importance of organisations becoming more transparent in their communications with consumers and other stakeholders.

Engaging employees to drive sustainability

Becoming a sustainable organisation is much easier when all employees are on board. Ensuring that the whole business, across all departments, is committed to making greener decisions will help leaders to revolutionise the way they do business and ensure long term success. The most important way to engage employees is by educating them on sustainability and helping them to understand why new ESG practices are being introduced. Businesses need to outline what the main aims are and decide specific areas of focus, before communicating these to employees to make sure they are all on the same page.

Furthermore, companies can consider asking employees for input in their practices to give them a sense of control and encourage them to make more sustainable decisions. Not only will this improve workplace satisfaction and boost productivity, but it will also encourage them to be more environmentally friendly and ethical. Ultimately, people can become overwhelmed with change, so it’s critical for businesses to take it one step at a time when introducing a new sustainability initiative.

Future of IT sustainability

There is no one-size fits all approach in measuring sustainability. Businesses vary in size, scope, needs and industry demands, meaning that detailing exactly what ESG looks like can be difficult. In addition, sustainability involves a growing number of factors, meaning that the amount of data needed by businesses to measure success has to be taken into account. Going forward, organisations have to adopt sustainability as a core business component and build out a set of KPIs that can be used by the whole company to measure long term success.

About the Author

Alan Hayward is Sales and Marketing Manager at SEH Technology UK and has been with the company for 21 years. In this role, Alan’s responsibilities include overseeing all sales and marketing activity in the UK, as well as collaborating with clients including resellers and distributors. Prior to joining SEH Technology, Alan was a Product Manager at Hosiden.