Published on October 29, 2023, 9:42 pm

CIOs can play a leading role in driving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals within organizations by leveraging technology and embracing generative AI. It is crucial for CIOs to manage IT estates efficiently, ensure compliance with environmental standards, and raise awareness within their organizations about ESG. They should prioritize relevant ESG goals, collaborate with partners who share the same vision, stay informed about the latest trends in ESG, and build an ESG portfolio to differentiate their organizations. By doing so, CIOs can contribute to achieving both business objectives and environmental stewardship.

CIOs and the Role of Generative AI in Driving ESG Performance

The 2021 Gartner CEO Survey highlighted a significant increase in mentions of social responsibility and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals among top business priorities. The growing emphasis on ESG is driven by increasing consumer, employee, and regulatory demands.

At the recent FutureCFO vSummit series held across Asia, senior finance leaders expressed particular interest in their organizations’ commitment to sustainability goals. However, it raises the question of how technology leaders can contribute to this mission. According to Gartner, there is an opportunity for Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to play a leading role in addressing this demand.

Gartner defines digital sustainability as the use of information and technology (I&T) to enable transparency, automation, accuracy, and traceability in ESG efforts. It emphasizes that CIOs should take the lead in driving digital sustainability through information technology (IT), amplifying sustainable technology through operational technology (OT), and integrating IT and OT.

Rajesh Nandakumar, the Head of Information Technology at Westpac Institutional Bank Asia, notes that current environmental changes significantly affect economic growth. Given our reliance on connectivity and data generation from society and businesses alike, he highlights the importance of energy-efficient data centers. As governments strive for zero carbon footprints in the future, regulators expect businesses to actively participate in achieving these sustainability goals.

Nandakumar stresses that as CIOs, managing IT estates efficiently is crucial for ensuring compliance with environmental standards. Leveraging technology becomes essential to help organizations fulfill their ESG commitments effectively.

From an accountability standpoint for ESG success or failure within an organization, Nandakumar asserts that CIOs are fully responsible. In today’s tech-driven world where actions are integrated into systems and follow principles promoting fairness, ethics, accountability, and transparency (FEAT), he believes CIOs should be committed to ESG goals.

Ensuring that IT positively contributes to successful ESG initiatives comes with challenges. Nandakumar highlights the need to raise awareness within the organization and team, acknowledging that ESG is an evolving field. Organizations can introduce their policies or enforce ESG as a key performance indicator to facilitate better performance assessment and investments.

To get ahead on sustainability and ESG, Nandakumar advises CIOs to prioritize relevant ESG goals within their domains, collaborate with partners or colleagues who share the same vision, stay informed about the latest trends in ESG, and build an ESG portfolio or success stories that differentiate their organizations.

As we increasingly recognize the importance of sustainability and ESG, it becomes evident that CIOs have a pivotal role to play. By embracing generative AI technologies and driving digital sustainability efforts, they can contribute significantly to achieving both business objectives and environmental stewardship.

Listen to Rajesh Nandakumar’s insights on enabling CIOs for sustainable and ESG ambitions in this episode of PodChats for FutureCIO. He discusses strategies for empowering CIOs and sheds light on how they can fulfill their organizations’ sustainable aspirations.

Read more at [source: FutureCIO].

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