How Digital Transformation Unlocks Opportunities for Sustainability

Remember when Elon Musk first (in)famously sent Bitcoin prices falling 15% with this tweet?

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Musk’s tweet makes one thing clear: contrary to popular belief, digital transformation and environmental sustainability are closely related and influence each other. Sometimes, they can be at odds with each other (like in the Bitcoin example).

But if done right, digital transformation can help move the needle on sustainability. In fact, ​​companies linking the two are 2.5 times more likely to be among the strongest-performing businesses in the future.

Here’s how digital transformation can powerfully magnify the impact of your company’s sustainability efforts.

How are businesses becoming more sustainable?

1. Tracking performance on sustainability metrics

Many companies now realize the value of sustainability amid pressure from investors, customers, and even employees to make it a priority. A key step in the process is measuring their performance on important environmental metrics. Think energy and water use, carbon emissions, and waste production for a start.

Digital tools make it easy to collect data on and increase visibility into sustainability KPIs. Data sharing and tracking platforms provide real-time visibility and accountability, helping reduce environmental impacts. Even blockchain is useful! It’s one way to create a tamper-proof digital trail to track and manage resource use. Food and fashion are two industries already utilizing blockchain to uphold environmental and social standards across supply chains.

For example, Anheuser-Busch InBev uses blockchain to track barley from the farm to the tap. This provides visibility into the exact barley sources — making it easier to track the environmental and labor standards practiced on the farms. They also aim to aggregate and benchmark data to help farmers improve their yields and environmental footprint.

2. Optimizing resource efficiency

Knowing your environmental impact is only the first step — acting on it is significantly more important. Digital tools are a powerful way to optimize resource usage. For example, the IoT and analytics can together improve energy efficiency in offices and factories, cutting energy use and costs by up to 90%. Walmart used machine learning to develop a tool that assesses produce quality and freshness. Six months after launching the tool, they’d saved $86 million worth of food waste.

3. New ways of working

There’s a good chance you’re reading this article from your home office. Remote work is one of the best ways to make your company more sustainable. Not only do employees not have to commute, taking cars off the road, companies can minimize office space and the energy put into maintaining them. For instance, more than 85% of organizations are expected to embrace cloud-first tech by 2025. Aside from offering increased agility to businesses, cloud technologies potentially cut costs and improve carbon efficiency by as much as 98% compared to on-campus data storage.

4. Unlocking sustainable business models and new value

Embracing digital can produce new business models that are both sustainable and profitable. Think of businesses in the sharing and rental economies like Uber or Zipcar. Instead of creating new products from fresh natural resources, these businesses generate economic value by circulating existing resources —usually facilitated by digital technology.

And within existing business models, insights from digital tools can reveal opportunities for new, sustainable revenue streams or create value for customers. Take Agility for example The global supply chain logistics company created a modeling tool that enables clients to create low-carbon shipping options.

How can you make digital transformation and environmental sustainability part of your organization's DNA?

Digital transformation and sustainability go hand-in-hand. Businesses need to integrate sustainability strategies into their roadmap and prioritize digital transformation efforts to make a lasting impact. These are sweeping changes that truly alter your organization's DNA. To successfully implement such complex change at scale, you need an agile workforce that's equipped with the mindset, tools, and resources to create true transformation. We can help!

With Volonte, you can build an agile workforce that thrives on change. Empower your employees to handle change with ease through our integrated change platform, with curated content and dedicated tools for internal mobility and collaboration.

So if you're ready to truly transform your organization and accelerate towards an environmentally (and economically) sustainable future, schedule a demo today!