Published on October 29, 2023, 9:33 pm

CIOs play a crucial role in supporting and driving ESG initiatives within organizations. They must provide data and insights to improve access to capital, reduce costs, and enhance stock performance. Data is essential for measuring progress and driving transformation in areas like emissions, governance, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The CIO's role is to gather, capture, and measure data while sourcing sustainable products and services. Collaboration between the CIO, Chief Sustainability Officer/Chief Finance Officer, and technology leaders is key for ESG accountability. Challenges include developing strategies, operationalizing ESG, and mindset shift across the organization. Designing good IT systems is necessary to avoid manual workarounds and facilitate digital interactions with patients. Organizations must align ESG initiatives with their overall goals for collective success.

Data plays a central role in the success of any environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitment. Organizations that undertake ESG initiatives must have the ability to measure change and drive transformation in various areas such as emissions, governance, diversity, equity, and inclusion. This requires access to data from external sources.

According to Gartner, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) should be prepared to provide data and insights that help improve the organization’s access to capital, cost of capital, operating costs, and ultimately stock performance. EY also agrees with this sentiment and emphasizes that CIOs play critical roles in enabling ESG-related programs across their enterprises.

Linus Tham, the Group Chief Information Officer for IHH Healthcare, acknowledges the importance of data in ensuring adherence to ESG commitments. He highlights that trust is fundamental in healthcare and losing it can be detrimental to the business. As part of IHH’s ESG goals, they focus on accessibility and transparency for patients while embracing value-driven outcomes.

Tham emphasizes the need to measure information accurately and benchmark performance internally as well as externally. He stresses the importance of learning from best practices of other companies through benchmarking efforts. Tham acknowledges that IHH is still discovering and learning as they progress on their ESG journey.

In terms of expectations from the CIO regarding IHH’s ESG aspirations, Tham explains that there are four areas of focus: patients, people, public and planet. The role of the CIO is to support other functions in gathering, capturing, and measuring data. It is crucial for IT to contribute by sourcing products and services from sustainable vendors who prioritize environmental responsibility.

ESG accountability involves collaboration between the Chief Sustainability Officer or Chief Finance Officer along with technology leaders. The CIO must be kept informed throughout the ESG journey because technology plays a central role in managing initiatives effectively.

Challenges related to ESG include developing strategies considering numerous factors and operationalizing ESG across the organization. Tham identifies mindset as the most significant challenge and emphasizes the need for the entire organization to connect with the purpose and work collectively towards the overall goal.

For IHH Healthcare, designing good IT systems is essential to avoid unnecessary manual workarounds and hindrances. With increasing digitalization, patients expect more digital interactions, prompting healthcare providers to create sustainable points of interaction. Additionally, optimizing healthcare resources through efficient systems and processes is crucial for sustainability.

Tham concludes by highlighting the importance of organizations believing in ESG initiatives and aligning them with their end goals. He acknowledges that this can be a significant challenge but emphasizes the collective nature of success.

As a leading healthcare network encompassing renowned brands like Acibadem, Mount Elizabeth, Prince Court, Gleneagles, Fortis, Pantai, Parkway, and International Medical University, IHH Healthcare understands the importance of ESG in their operations.

In conclusion, CIOs have a vital role to play in supporting and driving ESG initiatives within organizations. By leveraging data effectively and aligning IT strategies with ESG goals, CIOs can contribute positively to an organization’s overall sustainability efforts.

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