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CIOs Take Center Stage on ESG Strategies, Battling an Overflow of Data

With ESG strategies forming a core part of organizational business plans, CIOs need to tap into various areas of expertise to ensure ESG efforts are organized and integrated.

As environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies climb the list of priorities at organizations worldwide, chief information officers find themselves playing an increasingly central role in ESG efforts.

Today's ESG efforts are often ad hoc, siloed, and manual, with data and operations scattered across disparate systems in an organization.

Digital transformation presents a powerful opportunity for companies to turn ESG efforts into impact and business value, and the CIO has a front-row seat to how digital transformation is intersecting with every facet of the business.

With enterprise data at the heart of a company's ESG strategy, CIOs -- with their compete view of the interdependencies and interactions between people, processes, and technologies across every business function -- are critical to advancing ESG objectives.

Chris Bedi, chief digital information officer at ServiceNow, says it's up to the CIO to inform the rest of the organization of the environmental impact in terms of energy usage in data centers and business processes or advise on hardware and software purchase optimization.

Keeping ESG Top of Mind

The CIO is also responsible for managing technology lifecycles and informing governance policies that promote data trust and transparency. "It's incumbent upon the CIO to make innovation decisions and direct technology purchases with ESG in mind," he says.

From Bedi's perspective, an effective ESG program needs to be embedded into a company's business strategy, culture, and values across global operations.

When ESG efforts are siloed end everyday business decisions aren't linked, it presents real business risks -- suppliers chosen through procurement affect a company's carbon footprint, risk profile, and data privacy.

Workplace services created by facilities affect employee health, equity, and prospective talent, while data accuracy maintained by multiple groups affects transparency in reporting.

"There are hundreds of ESG point-products in the market that support discreet, disconnected ESG efforts, compounding the problem," he says. "And companies rely on different operational systems that support individual, siloed processes."

Read the rest of this article on InformationWeek.

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