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Less than a third of Southeast Asian firms use tech to achieve sustainability goals

Nurdianah Md Nur
Nurdianah Md Nur • 3 min read
Less than a third of Southeast Asian firms use tech to achieve sustainability goals
Only 16% of organisations in the region have a dedicated sustainability lead too, according to a study by Kyndryl and Microsoft. Photo: Unsplash
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Despite high levels of awareness and interest in sustainability, organisations are not doing enough to achieve their sustainability goals.

A study by Kyndryl in collaboration with Microsoft reveals that a mere 16% of organisations globally have integrated sustainability into their strategies and data.

Specifically for Southeast Asia, 51% of companies are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor energy use but only 32% leverage innovations to achieve sustainability goals.

The study also outlines best practices for driving growth and improving business outcomes.

Firstly, organisations must make sustainability a CEO and operations priority aligned with finance, technology and other business units. Currently, only 16% of organisations in the region have a dedicated sustainability lead. By prioritising the appointment of a dedicated sustainability lead, organisations can adopt a more focused approach to addressing environmental and social concerns.

Companies also need to align sustainability with technology modernisation. Those who choose to utilise automation and innovative solutions can enhance, modernise and prioritise sustainability processes and infrastructures to improve efficiencies and further reduce their carbon footprint.

See also: S’pore-based Terrenus Energy secures $300 mil from five banks to install solar panels atop HDB, gov’t buildings

Additionally, organisations should build an integrated data foundation. This will help streamline data management for informed decision-making and successful execution of sustainability strategies.

Leveraging AI for predictive sustainability is key too. Companies need to expand the use of AI beyond reporting to include predictive analytics that assess Scope 3 risks, forecast energy consumption and anticipate potential risks such as natural disasters. Today, approximately a third of organisations in Southeast Asia have considered these options.

Since 53% of organisations surveyed in Southeast Asia lack dedicated resources or limited internal expertise, there is also a need to invest in training and development so that they can tackle challenges and achieve their objectives effectively.

See also: Kering, NUS CGS partner to develop nature, climate transition studies over three years

“Many companies in Southeast Asia are at different stages of sustainability maturity. Half of these organisations are entrusting the oversight of sustainability functions to their CEOs and Boards, indicating a growing recognition of sustainability’s strategic importance,” says Andrew Lim, managing director for Asean at Kyndryl.

He continues: “Operations is also taking the lead in championing sustainability trends. These strategic shifts signify that companies are thinking beyond regulatory compliance and are looking for support on how they can pragmatically execute and advance their sustainability goals with the right innovative solutions.”

Shelly Blackburn, vice president for Cross Solutions Area at Microsoft, adds: “Technology has emerged as a key enabler to sustainability success, and its role will only continue to grow with the advent of more sophisticated AI tools. We are eager to help drive meaningful change and contribute to a more sustainable future in collaboration with Kyndryl.”

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