Research commissioned by Google Cloud to Harris Poll on a sample of 1,491 business executives
The climate change that has worried scientists for years is increasingly translating into extreme, frequent and devastating climatic phenomena. This, coupled with the complexities of managing sustainable supply chains and reducing emissions, underscores the importance of timely action by businesses and executives to turn the tide.
This is confirmed by the most recent research commissioned by Google Cloud to Harris Poll on a sample of 1,491 business executives in 16 countries, including Italy, aimed at investigating the objectives, actions and challenges that top corporate spheres are facing in the transition to a business more sustainable.
The research shows that ESG initiatives represent the organizational priority for professionals at a global level as well as the evolution or adaptation of business models. With sustainability spending close to 10% of the corporate budget, executives globally are willing to consider sustainable growth modes for the Planet, even if this results in a loss of revenue in the near future.
According to the study, companies in EMEA are more likely to have at least one program in place to carry out green initiatives than the world average (98% VS 96%).
The initiatives most commonly taken by companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa include choosing sustainable suppliers or partners (48%), implementing green office policies (45%) and efforts to offset their carbon footprint through choice of renewable energy sources and sustainable production methods (44%).
At face value, 80% of executives surveyed globally rate their organization above average for environmental sustainability efforts, while 78% believe they are on the right track.
Despite the best intentions, however, various challenges still remain linked, in particular, to the lack of measurement of the results of its sustainability initiatives, which generate a gap between set objectives and real progress. 58% of executives globally admit they have sinned with green washing, and 66% wonder how genuine their company’s ESG initiatives are.
One of the obstacles to overcome in order to make ESG initiatives more concrete seems to be precisely the lack of evaluation metrics. 64% of respondents worldwide did not adopt measurement tools to assess the impact of their sustainable practices compared to 36% who introduced metrics. Of the latter, only 17% are using the collected data to optimize their performance.
If CEOs are able to overcome these challenges, ESG initiatives could become a real growth engine: 74% of managers believe that sustainability can lead to a profound transformation of the business. It is no coincidence that technology and sustainability are the two main areas in which CEOs globally intend to increase investments in 2022. Executives in Latin America (66%) and EMEA (60%) are the biggest proponents of increasing investment in the sustainability.
At the Italian level, the study records a growth in interest in ESG aspects by companies: 89% of the CEOs interviewed believe that they deal with it more than a year ago. However, 71% recognize that while many say they want to be more sustainable, few know how to do it concretely. So much so that 60% wonder if their company’s sustainability initiatives are authentic.
97% of the Italian companies in the sample interviewed have activated at least one sustainability program, but also in the Bel Paese there is a lack of measurement of results: almost one company out of 5 (19%) has no measurement system that allows it to calculate their environmental impact and take action to improve, and more than half (57%) did not introduce metrics to evaluate the results of the ESG initiatives they took.
In the process of evolution from a green perspective, technology seems to play a fundamental role for Italian executives. So much so that 44% of respondents say that technology allows the development of new products and services that use more sustainable methods and one in three consider it a key tool for measuring the impact of the initiatives taken.
“It is encouraging to see that the areas in which Italian executives intend to invest the most in terms of time and money in 2022 are sustainability (79%) and technological development (68%). technology will allow their organization to be more sustainable, both of these investment areas show the commitment of Italian companies to improve their environmental impact “commented Fabio Fregi, Google Cloud Country Manager Italy. “We know that building more sustainable businesses is not a trivial process, which is why Google Cloud is committed to supporting companies on their journey towards achieving ESG goals. We are convinced that technology and cloud computing are essential levers to create a more sustainable future and we are proud to allow our customers to use the industry’s cleanest cloud for their data. ”
Using its technology and insights provided, Google Cloud – the cleanest cloud in the industry – supports its customers in reducing their carbon footprint, identifying opportunities to become more sustainable and building action plans. for the climate.
Increasing the sustainability of digital applications and infrastructures is a priority for companies around the world, and Google Cloud will continue to invest in various product areas to support organizations’ progress towards their sustainability goals. In order to simplify the consultation and use of these new features, the company has recently introduced the Carbon Sense suite – a collection of features that simplify reporting and reducing carbon emissions – which integrates for example tools such as Active Assist. , a tool that supports customers in identifying, removing and optimizing inactive cloud projects to proactively reduce their footprint, and Carbon Footprint, to measure the gross carbon emissions associated with their use of Google Cloud.
Additionally, to help customers decarbonise the electricity consumed by their cloud applications, Google Cloud offers the Google Cloud region picker, a tool that provides the average hourly percentage of carbon-free energy (CFE%) for most of its regions and helps clients to evaluate key inputs such as price, latency for their end users and carbon footprint, and choose which Google Cloud region to operate on.