Why sustainability is everyone’s responsibility

By Jon Chorley, Chief Sustainability Officer and GVP of SCM, Oracle

Organizations today understand the need for comprehensive environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) strategies, and many have set ambitious goals for the coming decades. While the abundance of lofty ESG commitments is commendable, we are witnessing numerous organizations finding the journey to realize ESG goal is more challenging than expected.

The success of ESG programs hinges on broad engagement across the organization, surpassing top-down directives. Creating a sense of responsibility for ESG throughout the business is needed to plan, execute, and track progress effectively. This often requires deep organizational change that can be quite challenging.

With the right education, planning, communication, and technology assistance, engagement flourishes and efficiencies follow. Following are some ways to create more buy-in and a sense of shared responsibility at all levels of the business:

Ensure Clear Top-Down Guidance with Proper Planning

Top executives need to establish a guiding vision for the organization, starting with a clear articulation of the company’s mission and high-level ESG goals. These goals should then outline priorities for all employees and partners. To ensure effective implementation, responsibilities should be delegated, and goals must translate into simple, actionable steps for everyone involved.

Proper planning is essential. Having well thought out and comprehensive plans will also help avoid rash decision making and potential mishaps due to a lack of strong direction.

A perfect example of optimizing transportation and logistics can be found in the multi-national consumer packaged goods company, Unilever. Using intelligent transportation management, Unilever reduced the distance of its fleet of trucks drive by 29 million kilometers annually, and reduce carbon emissions by 9 percent.

Putting Technology into operations
The right tools and technology play a pivotal role for effective execution and sustainability initiatives. Supply chain management solutions and platforms powered by AI and machine learning can be valuable resources in empowering teams of all levels to contribute to ESG initiatives and holding them accountable to the goals. Automating the measurement of ESG initiatives takes tedious work off employees’ to-do lists and ensures accuracy and transparency.

These technologies also enable real-time tracking to help guide the company in the right direction with each important decision. This allows organizations to align on financial and operational goals for ESG initiatives, gaining buy-in from leadership, employees, and business partners to work towards a common goal.

Efficiently integrating emerging technology into organizational systems is crucial for achieving ESG goals. New tools empower individuals across various departments to actively contribute to sustainability efforts in supply chain, HR, finance, and customer experience. Embracing ESG as a core mission has significant benefits, as research indicates that companies demonstrating progress in ESG initiatives are more appealing to customers, employees, and investors, positively impacting both the planet and the bottom line.

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