New NTT Global Survey: IoT, Digital Transformation Driving Corporate Sustainability

New NTT Global Survey: IoT, Digital Transformation Driving Corporate SustainabilityHighlights:

  • 87% of organizations surveyed have implemented digital technologies to achieve sustainability goals.
  • Top five digital technologies and solutions being used now by organizations to achieve sustainability goals:
    • 1. Cloud – 64%
      2. IoT – 46%
      3. AI (Machine Learning, Deep Learning, etc.) – 45%
      4. Advanced Data Management and Data Analytics – 38%
      5. Robotic Process Automation – 35%
  • 69% of global executives agree that digital innovation is key to achieving sustainability goals across environmental, social and economic areas.

NTT today published the results of a global corporate sustainability survey designed to identify the most effective business practices to advance sustainability goals.

In a report titled, “Innovating for a Sustainable Future,” NTT, in partnership with ThoughtLab, found that 44 percent of companies experience improved profitability as a result of sustainability. This indicates that sustainability programs are now both an ethical and a business imperative to drive positive change and deliver better financial results. Additionally, 69 percent of global executives agree that digital innovation is key to achieving sustainability goals across environmental, social and economic areas.

The global study of 500 companies examines how firms incorporate sustainability into their business strategies and the outcomes they are experiencing. Key highlights include:

  • The survey finds that now more than ever, organizations are taking sustainability practices seriously. Of the organizations surveyed, 68 percent report that building a sustainable future is a top priority for their boards.
  • The pandemic proved to be a watershed moment for many organizations, with 47 percent stating that the pandemic elevated the importance of sustainability goals.
  • Among the top benefits as a result of sustainability initiatives, 33 percent of organizations experience decreased costs through improved efficiencies, 32 percent experience greater innovation and/or new business models and 24 percent experience increased revenue growth.
  • Only 12 percent of organizations worldwide indicate that sustainability is mostly “lip service” and nearly four out of ten companies state that customers, employees, shareholders and communities expect them to drive positive change.

Vito Mabrucco, Head of Global Marketing at NTT, said:

“As the global population refocuses its attention on the health and wellbeing of people and the planet, we have seen a renewed commitment from organizations to implement and advance sustainable business practices. At the same time, the health of people versus the health of profits is not an either-or-decision; sustainability and profitability are becoming mutually reliant.”

The report defines “sustainable development” in accordance with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a blueprint for creating a more sustainable future by 2030. NTT has aligned its business objectives with these SDGs, which cover three key categories: social good, environment, and economic growth and development.

As part of the survey, NTT and ThoughtLab grouped companies into three maturity categories (beginners, intermediates and advanced/leaders) based on their progress within a framework of 10 initiatives for driving sustainable innovation.

Looking exclusively at the achievements from leaders, NTT has outlined a set of best practices based off of the analysis of the study to help organizations achieve their sustainability goals. These best practices include:

    1. Build the foundation for sustainability excellence. Set a clear sustainability vision, strategy and organizational structure; monitor performance against sustainability metrics; and incorporate sustainability deep into the business.
    2. Harness digital innovation to drive sustainability results. For leaders, sustainability and digital innovation are two sides of the same coin. Leaders draw more on digital technologies, particularly the cloud, AI and IoT, and understand that the best results come from interconnecting them.
    3. Build partnerships that work together to deliver on common sustainability goals. Leaders not only work more closely with supply chains; they also develop ties with a wider range of partners, from multilateral organizations and NGOs to industry and consumer groups.

chart: technologies used to achieve sustainability goals

The publishing of the study coincides with the launch of NTT’s Innovation for a Sustainable Future program.
To view the full Innovating for a Sustainable Future report, click here.
Methodology: To determine how organizations are incorporating sustainability into their business strategies as well as the outcomes of those implementations, NTT and ThoughtLab conducted a comprehensive survey of executives from 500 companies across seven industries and eight world markets from September – October 2021.
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