New IDC Survey Shows that Sustainability Software is Needed to Monitor "Social Sustainability" as Well as Environmental Sustainability

Published on: 27 July 2022
by KnowESG
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While environmental issues have dominated the ESG/sustainability narrative, a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) survey finds that social sustainability topics account for the largest share of use cases for sustainability software. These human and social capital uses include diversity, equity and inclusion, employee health and safety, data privacy, human rights, and product access and affordability.

The 2022 Global Sustainability Software Buyer Value Survey provides insight into IT buyers’ priorities and spending intentions regarding software that helps achieve sustainability goals. Sustainability software solutions are designed to help organisations track and report their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance and provide relevant data to improve their operational performance.

This requires software providers to think about ESG use cases holistically, especially in the context of complex issue areas such as employee health and wellbeing, decarbonisation, and sustainable supply chain management. And given that improving operating costs and fulfilling executive mandates are among the top investment drivers for sustainability software, the software needs to help organisations actively manage their sustainability performance, instead of simply "checking off boxes" for ESG reporting.

"Environmental issues like decarbonisation have traditionally topped the list as sustainability priorities for many organisations. However, over the past few years, the impact that the pandemic has had on the workforce has raised the level of emphasis by organisations on social sustainability issues such as employee health, safety, and wellbeing," said Bjoern Stengel, Global Sustainability Research and Practice Lead, Sustainable Strategies and Technologies at IDC. "Software vendors play a critical role in helping organisations operationalise ESG and move from target setting and strategising to creating measurable impact regarding their most material ESG issues."

Addressing social sustainability issues related to human capital management is amongst the top business value benefits that organisations expect to achieve by utilising sustainability software solutions.

Sustainability/ESG software plays an important role across all use cases related to internal operations, highlighting the need for comprehensive solutions that capture information across different issue areas.

Unlike in previous IDC surveys, respondents to this year's sustainability software survey say that IT plays a bigger role in enabling organisations to track their ESG performance for reporting purposes and driving desired business outcomes. 

The blend of responsible IT and line of business functions require software vendors to successfully convey their value proposition to both buyer groups.

The IDC report, Sustainability Software Buyer Value Survey, 2022 — Part 1: General Priorities, Challenges, Responsibilities, and Investment Drivers (Doc #US48708522), examines the results of IDC's 2022 Global Sustainability Software Buyer Value Survey. 

IDC's first global sustainability/environmental, social, and governance (ESG) software survey explores buyer priorities, decision-making criteria, and demand drivers for software solutions that help organisations manage, track, and analyse their performance on ESG issues. It is part of a series of global sustainability-focused end-user surveys focusing on different technology and ESG topic areas.

Source: IDC

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