The transition to net zero offers a great opportunity for CIO’s to increase their strategic influence in their organisations. Tech leaders are in an ideal position to advance sustainability by driving digital transformation, improving energy efficiency, and reducing carbon emissions.
But while this is a great opportunity, it also comes with great responsibility. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report confirms that the world is in deep trouble on climate change. But success in reducing emissions has been demonstrated. The IPCC says existing policies, laws, technologies and measures the world over are already reducing emissions by several billion tonnes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, compared to what would otherwise be the case. So, if we really put our shoulder to the wheel we can turn things around.
The Logicalis Global CIO Report 2023 identified three ways CIOs are driving the transition to net zero:
1. Redefining IT leadership to inspire organisational change
In our report, 92% of CIOs see a clear link between ESG, sustainability and enterprise value.
CIOs are taking steps to build understanding, awareness and measurable action around sustainability, that reach outside the IT organisation. They have a head start in understanding sustainability, because they’re often at the forefront of delivering more sustainable, digital services.
CIOs are also likely to have experience of evaluating sustainability data. Almost half (49%) of the CIOs in our Global CIO Report told us they look at carbon output and energy efficiency when choosing new suppliers. 20% also say this is an important consideration when choosing new Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
While sustainability and ESG are high on the business agenda, there is a lack of understanding when it comes to creating and measuring the effectiveness of a sustainability strategy.
This will change as sustainability moves further up the corporate agenda, and when financial regulators start to demand compliance with carbon emissions. When that happens, the CIO could be a pivotal figure in delivering change.
Speaking to Deloitte, Jedidiah Yueh, founder of SustainableIT.org, said: “CIOs have a great responsibility and incredible opportunity to combine the power of technology and leadership to impact not just sustainability but all three pillars of ESG.”
2. Increase IT outsource management
One strategy to overcome these challenges is increasing IT Outsource Management. CIOs can take advantage of their suppliers’ economies of scale to:
- Track the carbon impact of their technology stack and provide recommendations on how to improve.
- Transition their business to using more energy-efficient infrastructure by reducing a business’s need to own, host, and/or manage its own infrastructure
- Ethically dispose of redundant assets and even help extending the life of existing in-use assets where possible.
- Access vital skills required to support their sustainability efforts
Our report found that 48% of CIOs said progress in sustainability is hindered by a lack of in-house skills and 74% expect to increase spending on IT Outsource Management in 2023 to get better visibility of cost and performance (55%), and access to skills (48%.)
3. Move the focus from compliance to delivering sustainability that delivers long-term business value
CIOs are responding to sustainability challenges by not just focusing on compliance, but developing strategies that drive growth, improve efficiency, and deliver innovation. In fact our survey found that the biggest motivators for driving improved sustainability were:
- Market competition (55%)
- Customer attraction (52%)
- Employee expectations (45%)
- Customer retention (45%)
“A tough market demands innovation, along with growth and efficiency.” Bob Bailkoski, CEO Logicalis Group
By using their IT experience as a lens for making strategic choices that drive innovation and differentiation in a digital-first world, CIOs have a clear opportunity to step up to drive sustainable transformation and steer their organisation’s future.
The Logicalis Global CIO Report 2023 has in-depth analysis of how CIOs can drive sustainability and the three pillars of ESG (environmental, social and governance). It also has fascinating data on how they are delivering innovation and building resilience in a digital first world. It proves that CIOs are growing their field of influence at board level, and are themselves becoming architects of change.