Technology Record - Issue 24: Spring 2022

42 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om Corporate sustainability is widely agreed to have been born from the ‘triple bottom line’ framework developed by business writer John Elkington in 1997. The concept proposes that continued business success is based not only on financial factors, but also on social and environmental activities. Results from PwC’s 2021 Consumer Intelligence Series survey on ESG suggest that this theory holds true. The report found that consumers and employees want businesses to invest in making sustainable improvements to the environment and society. Over 80 per cent of both groups indicated that they are more likely to buy from, or work for, a company that actively engages with environmental issues, and more than 75 per cent said the same about social considerations. Despite this, many businesses have struggled to realise their goals. A 2021 study conducted by Goldsmiths, the University of London and Microsoft, entitled Accelerating the Journey to Net Zero – A UK Blueprint for Carbon Reduction, found that the majority of organisations in the UK were set to miss the government’s target for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The research showed that for many, the issue resulted from a failure to turn strategy into action and a scarcity of in-house skills. It also found that collaboration and technology could be key to fixing the problem. “If the UK is to meet its net-zero ambitions, public and private sectors need to join forces to define the meaning of real net zero, agree how to measure progress and build markets that can deliver a just, prosperous future for everyone,” said Clare Barclay, CEO of Microsoft UK, when the research was published ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) last November. The event was an essential driver in bringing sustainability back into mainstream media and common consciousness, as well as in prompting organisations to develop tangible actions. Of these, the Paris Rule Book has been hailed a success for providing robust metrics for assessing environmental change. COP26 also delivered the Glasgow Climate Pact, an agreement which outlines increased finance for sustainable Many organisations and governments have been reinvigorated by COP26 to explore sustainability strategies. But to realise their goals, they must make a renewed commitment to technological innovation. Microsoft and its partners are working to deliver the solutions and initiatives that could make the difference BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S sustainability Striving COV E R S TOR Y “Public and private sectors need to join forces to define the meaning of real net zero” C L AR E BAR C L AY, M I C ROSOF T for