Technology companies have been reimagining their responsibility as good corporate citizens and environmental stewards for years, and now, many are seeing an increased demand from investors, stakeholders, customers and employees. As a result, we’re now seeing 83 percent of global technology companies reporting on sustainability.
The technology industry, perhaps more than any other sector, has the resources, visibility and influence in our daily lives to be the leader and catalyst on climate change issues. In fact, 88 percent of technology CEOs want to lock in the sustainability and climate change gains their companies have made during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, they have some ground to make up before they can claim true leadership on this issue. In the survey of sustainability reporting at technology companies report, the survey finds that the technology sector fares well against other industries in most sustainability reporting metrics, yet falls short of the standards set by the world's 250 largest companies.
Today, 70 percent of technology companies report carbon reduction targets. Several leading technology companies have made public proclamations of their goal to become carbon neutral. KPMG has also announced its intention to become carbon neutral by 2030. To become carbon neutral, companies often invest in decarbonization strategies such as distributed on-site renewable energy generation as well as direct integration with renewable producers to offset Scope 2 emissions by purchasing renewable energy certificates. Other strategies include utilizing carbon capture technology, continuing efforts to improve data center efficiency and entering into virtual power purchase agreements to offset carbon emissions.
So why does the technology industry have more influence than others?
For one, many of the big technology companies have become an integral part of consumers’ lives – both personally and professionally. This creates a heightened awareness of what those companies do – good or bad. In this case, the actions many technology companies have taken related to climate change may have a positive impact.
Additionally, technology companies are at the forefront of innovation and are often seen as first movers. From electric vehicles to solar panels, technology companies are focused on developing next-generation technologies, many of which will have a positive impact on our environment. Moreover, many decarbonization strategies are delivered through new technology.
For example, businesses can enable carbon-management strategies through the convergence of Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, and AI. IoT sensors provide real-time environmental data sets that are captured through blockchain infrastructure to create immutable data records. Machine learning and AI are deployed on data infrastructure to enable automated control and optimize performance across systems. This capability can create a new standard for the transparency and fidelity of data for climate disclosure reporting.
With technology companies leading the way, I believe we will see more companies across all industries take steps to improve their sustainability reporting and decarbonization efforts, making a positive impact on climate change in the future.