Indian businesses believe it is possible to be sustainable and profitable at the same time, an SAP and Oxford study has found
A recent study by Oxford Economics and SAP has revealed Indian businesses recognize the potential of sustainability to unlock business value, with 62% of companies noting it’s not difficult to be sustainable and profitable at the same time.
The study also revealed that although the significance of sustainability is well understood, much work remains to be done to ensure sustainability ambition translates into action. The study found that just 17% of respondents have calculated their total organizational carbon input. More importantly, out of the organizations that have acted upon a sustainability strategy, only 7% are receiving significant value from it.
“It’s a positive sign that Indian organizations believe it is viable to improve profits and protect the environment at the same time,” said Kulmeet Bawa, president and managing director, SAP Indian Subcontinent. “The use of technology can aid us strategically to assist companies realize real, genuine, and quantifiable business value. At SAP, we’re dedicated to enable businesses of all sizes and industries in achieving their sustainability goals,” he added.
Regulatory compliance is both key sustainability driver and a challenge
More than half of Indian respondents (60%) noted that regulatory mandates are the primary drivers of their sustainability strategies. This aligns with the fact that regulatory compliance (45%) is the major benefit derived ahead of reduced carbon emissions and increased operational visibility.
It’s clear that organisations may need to refocus their strategies to achieve greater value from sustainability. Too much focus on compliance was cited as the third highest challenge to sustainability success by Indian respondents.
Data is the major gap to going green
Access to accurate and insightful data throughout the business value chain is critical to maximizing sustainability outcomes. But just four in ten (44%) of respondents said they have invested in data analysis to measure sustainability in their business, and a similar amount (43%) said they were training staff how to capture sustainability data.
Organizations must move beyond driving transparency for legal compliance to expand sustainable practices throughout industrial business networks and value chains. To do this, they must use technology to gather data, optimise business processes, and make more sustainable business decisions.
The role of leadership is central in driving progress on sustainability
Senior leadership can play a pivotal role in engaging and driving their companies on a sustainable transformation by setting out clear cut path and goals. Yet only 22% of businesses have incentivised leaders based on sustainability strategy success and only half (52%) say their employees are active participants in their sustainability efforts.
Business leaders must walk the talk by clearly engaging with key audiences like employees, supply chain partners, and policymakers on how to leverage the transformative power of technology and data management to be a more intelligent, sustainable enterprise.
“Sustainability leaders go beyond vision to ensure that sustainability initiatives are acted upon,” said Edward Cone, editorial director, Oxford Economics. “They communicate with key constituencies both inside and outside the company, and they use integrated technologies to measure and track performance in a way that drives accountability.”