How Can Cloud Technology Improve ESG?

Updated: January 26th, 2024

How is Cloud Technology Enabling Businesses to Achieve Their ESG Goals?

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies and initiatives are becoming a key factor for customers when choosing a business to purchase from. From concerns about the environment and the effects of climate change to awareness surrounding the impact businesses can have on society, customers are increasingly looking to work with brands whose values align with their own. Research conducted by PwC has shown that 76% of customers that they will stop buying from companies that treat the environment, their employees or the community in which they operate poorly. With that in mind, businesses are increasingly working to improve their ESG initiatives and investing in cloud technology can help to achieve ESG goals whilst, simultaneously, improving business operations and processes.

We’re going to take a look at how leveraging cloud technology can help your business to fulfil your ESG responsibilities whilst enabling better operational efficiency and business growth.

 

What Does ESG Mean?

ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance and covers a business’s impact on the environment and society.

Environmental

The environmental aspect of ESG outlines the steps and initiatives a business will take to minimise its impact on the environment. From the products/services it provides to its operations and supply chain, the environment component of a business’s ESG strategy involves implementing more sustainable practices such as:

  • Reducing energy consumption and utilising renewable energy sources
  • Developing more sustainable products and services
  • Switching to reusable, biodegradable or recyclable packaging

Social

The social component of ESG strategies focusses on the impact a business can have on its people, its local community and society as a whole. Ensuring equality and fairness plays a fundamental role within this aspect. Examples of initiatives business’s can undertake to fulfil their social responsibilities include:

  • Promoting equality and diversity within the workplace
  • Investing in local community projects and organisations
  • Providing training and supporting health, safety and wellbeing

Governance

The governance aspect of ESG strategies refers to processes of decision-making, reporting and the logistics involved in running a business. This aspect is linked to the social and environmental aspects of ESG, as it refers to the ethical behaviour and transparency of a business. Examples of governance practices include:

  • Ensuring diversity within the business’s board
  • Business leaders and managers take responsibility for risk and performance management
  • Accurate reporting on financial performance, business strategy and operations

Businesses who successfully achieve these objectives will build a positive brand reputation and are more likely to be chosen by customers, compared with businesses that do not prioritise ESG.

According to a study created by Cone Communications, 88% of consumers will be more loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues. If businesses are looking to retain and progress their customer base, implementing an effective ESG strategy is vital to achieve this aim.

 

How Can Cloud Technology Help with ESG?

As a company who has implemented a comprehensive ESG strategy and who operates within the technology industry, we understand the value and impact investing in the right cloud technology can have on a business’s ESG. We’re going to break down each aspect of ESG and how cloud technology can provide contribute to their success.

What are the Environmental Benefits of Cloud Technology?

Cloud computing can help businesses to reduce their carbon footprint through reducing the need for on-premises servers. Furthermore, investing in cloud solutions such as storage and virtualisation can also further reduce reliance on physical resources. This reduction in on-premise hardware can significantly reduce energy consumption.

Although data is stored off-site within a data centre, this doesn’t automatically mean that a business can automatically write off this energy consumption. It is key that businesses research their cloud providers and ensure that they are working with a provider that aligns with their environmental commitments and powers their data centres with sustainable energy sources.

What are the Social Benefits of Cloud Technology?

Cloud technology enables teams to be able to work remotely, which can have a positive impact on the work-life balance of their employees. Remote working can also enable parents to structure their workdays around their childcare requirements, which can reduce stress and childcare costs. Workers can also utilise their time more efficiently through not having to experience long commute times. The time they would have spent sitting in traffic on the train can be reinvested into healthier lifestyles through going to the gym or for a walk, or simply taking time for themselves. Also, reducing commuting through implementing remote working contributes to fulfilling the environmental responsibilities of a business’s ESG Strategy.

When it comes to protecting the wellbeing of team members, remote working reduces exposure to illnesses, as workers are not under pressure to attend the office if they are ill. Offering remote working enables improves both accessibility and diversity within the workplace. People with disabilities or additional needs are not hindered by the obligation to attend an office and will have the same access to resources and opportunities to progress their careers. With cloud technology, those who are unable to work from a physical office location can still have access to the same desktop, applications, data and resources as they would in the office. The implementation of cloud technologies levels the playing field within the job market to enable the best person for the job to take the role, regardless of location or their ability to attend the business’s office.

What are the benefits of Cloud Technology for Governance?

Data security and compliance are vital components of governance within a business. Cloud technology allows access to sophisticated security solutions to keep business data under lock and key. From automation reducing human error to artificial intelligence undertaking proactive threat detection and management, businesses can take advantage of a wide range of security solutions and processes that bolster their data security processes.

Cloud solutions can improve reporting and analytics to fuel efficient decision-making. With access to more in-depth data across performance, communications, business growth and customer experience, businesses can make key changes and improvements to progress and grow. It also provides better visibility on how the business is operating which enables improved transparency. The scalability and agility provided by cloud solutions supports the growth of a business, further facilitating governance efforts.

 

Real Life Examples of Cloud Technology Improving ESG Initiatives

Now we’ve taken a look at how cloud technology solutions can benefit ESG strategies and initiatives, we’re going to examine some real business examples.  

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

Reported in a news article from Microsoft, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is a global leader in wind power solutions and has utilised cloud technology to optimise the performance and efficiency of its wind turbines. Traditionally, a wind turbine inspection required technicians to physically examine a stationary wind turbine and take pictures of cracks and imperfections in a turbine’s blades. The turbines were often in remote areas and even out at sea. Alternatively, inspections could involve the use of telescopes and cameras to take pictures of the turbines components at a distance. Both techniques were time-consuming and posed significant challenges.

Searching for a more efficient method to carry out these inspections, the company started using autonomous drones and a digital solution known as Hermes. The drones capture high-resolution images quickly, whilst the solution analyses images for potential blade damage, resulting in safer, quicker and more accurate examinations. The company further improved this process by migrating it to Microsoft Azure and combining it with Azure AI to process image recognition. This enhanced process contributes to the business’s mission to make renewable energy more affordable the future more sustainable.

Walmart

Woman doing food shopping

Walmart is one of the world’s largest retailers and has been integrated a food safety solution using IBM Food Trust. IBM Food Trust is a blockchain-based cloud platform that aims to improve food supply chain transparency and traceability. By utilising cloud technology to securely store and share data, IBM Food Trust helps to reduce food waste and ensure the safety of food products.

This solution enables Walmart to fulfil all three areas of their ESG strategy. It benefits society, through enhancing food safety. It contributes to taking care of the environment by reducing food waste. Finally, it positively contributes to the business’s governance initiatives by providing customers with detailed information about the origin and journey of their food, therefore improving transparency.

Accenture

Accenture are a global consulting and professional services firm, who launched their ‘Skills to Succeed’ initiative. This initiative uses cloud-based online training platforms to provide skills development and training to disadvantaged individuals. Through leveraging cloud technology, Accenture has scaled this initiative to reach millions of people to address social issues related to unemployment and skills gaps.

‘Skills to Succeed’ has facilitated the following outcomes:

  • Over 78,000 people in the UK gained valuable skills to improve employability and further their careers.
  • 108,000 learners gaining digital skills through online learning
  • 68.3% of users feeling more confident and employable after using the Skills to Succeed Academy

This initiative enables Accenture to fulfil the social aspect of their ESG initiative, through addressing skill gaps and enabling job seekers to start and progress their careers. Furthermore, delivering this tuition via an online platform means that it is a sustainable initiative, fulfilling the environmental facet of their ESG strategy.

 

Key Cloud Technologies for ESG Success

Now we’ve explored how cloud technology can help various aspects of a business’s ESG strategy, let’s take a look at some specific solutions and the benefits they can provide.

Azure Virtual Desktop

Azure Virtual Desktop allows your team to access the same desktop and associated data, applications and platforms from any location, exactly the same as they would if they were working in the office.

How Azure Virtual Desktop Benefits ESG:

  • Facilitates flexible and remote working
  • Reduces emissions caused by commuting into the office
  • Built-in comprehensive security
  • Scalable solution

Azure Hosting

Azure Hosting removes the complexity and costs associated with provisioning your own IT infrastructure by moving it to the cloud. An Azure Hosting solution is tailored to the exact requirements of your business and managed by an expert team of engineers and cloud specialists.

How Azure Hosting Benefits ESG:

  • Facilitates flexible and remote working
  • Reduces emissions caused by commuting into an office
  • Reduced reliance on on-premise hardware
  • Robust security
  • Scalable solution

Unified Communications as a Service

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a cloud-hosted communications solution that unifies voice, video, instant message, productivity and collaboration applications within one platform. Your team can access the same feature-rich communication system from the office, from home and on the go.

How UCaaS Benefits ESG:

  • Facilitates flexible and remote working
  • Reduces reliance on on-premise hardware
  • In-depth analytics on team performance
  • Scalable solution
  • Improved employee experience
  • Data security and compliance

Contact Centre as a Service

Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) is a cloud-hosted communications solution that provides multi-channel communication, alongside powerful customer service features, such as intelligent IVR, AI integration and advanced call handling to provide efficient, high-quality customer experiences.

How CCaaS Benefits ESG:

  • Facilitates flexible and remote working
  • Reduces reliance on on-premise hardware
  • In-depth analytics on customer experience and agent performance
  • Scalable solution
  • Improved customer experience
  • Data security and compliance

 

The Importance of Finding the Best Cloud Solutions Provider

Assessing Your Organisation’s Digital Maturity

When it comes to implementing any new technology solutions within your business, finding a knowledgeable, experienced provider is vital to ensure your solution is fit for purpose, provides the best cost-efficiency and your business has access to proactive, speedy support. When you are researching cloud technology providers here are a few key considerations:

  • How many years of industry experience does the provider have?
  • Do they have a range of cloud solutions available?
  • Do they offer tailored, bespoke solutions?
  • What is their ESG strategy?
  • What are their support SLAs?

 

Make the Move to Cloud with Elite Group

If you’re looking to implement cloud technology solutions within your business, our team of cloud specialists are here to help! With access to over 20 years of experience in the technology industry, our highly accredited experts, proactive support from our service desk and dedicated account managers, you have everything you need to ensure your journey to the cloud is seamless and efficient.

ESG is one of the core components of our vision. We are committed to driving positive change within our environment and local communities in which we work. We are dedicated to creating a positive impact for our people, our customers and everyone who comes into contact with our business. Our values of teamwork, hard work, humility and compassion fuel all of our operations to ensure the best customer experiences and to create and maintain a culture that supports and benefits our team.

Work with us today. Call us on 0344 875 8880 or contact our cloud specialists today.