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Sustainability Trends Impact Consumer and Industrial Markets

Fluctuating market activity is continuing in 2022. From the increasing demand to adopt sustainable processes to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) priorities and data transparency, industrial enterprises must find ways to adapt to changes by acting on opportunities. With a series of shifts already taking place in the market, our experts at SitelogIQ weigh in on the most recent trends and how they will impact industrial enterprises.

Sustainability is top of mind for executives

Sustainability has become a top priority for executives. Rising awareness of the urgency of sustainability has sharpened the focus on ESG programs at the highest levels, notably at consumer products companies. According to a recent Forbes article, “In an Oxford Economics survey, executives from almost three quarters (73%) of CP [consumer products] companies said sustainability issues were a major concern or top-of-mind at all stages of the supply chain process from planning, design, and R&D, through manufacturing, logistics/delivery, and product maintenance – far more than the total from all industries.”

Key Takeaway

The fact that executives hold sustainability as a primary concern and appreciate the need for a holistic approach bodes well for ESG program success. However, it’s essential that ESG initiatives don’t rely on individual efforts; otherwise, moving forward to take action will present challenges.

The difficulty in establishing an effective ESG team is widespread. According to Deloitte, “Despite an increased focus on ESG matters from stakeholders and the need to internally mobilize to create a robust ESG strategy and governance structure, less than a quarter (21% of survey respondents) currently have an ESG council or working group in place to drive strategic attention to ESG topics.”

Action to Take Now

To prevent the issues that can arise from scattered efforts, organizations should implement a centrally-managed ESG program. This will facilitate alignment on goals as well as ensure speedy and consistent rollouts. When shifting to a centralized approach you will need to identify key decision-making team members, define and prioritize sustainability goals, and understand the timeline to achieve those goals.

ESG data availability and transparency are essential

In order to meet stakeholder demands, transparency for sustainability efforts is now crucial. A lack of data transparency regarding sustainability efforts is an avoidable risk that should be mitigated. There are now a variety of available technologies and tools that enable organizations to showcase ESG data and progress. From Forbes: “Operating a sustainable business across vast, complex supply chains demands new levels of data transparency”. Technology has an outsize role in meeting these expectations. Driven by increased demand for environmental accountability in manufacturing ecosystems, IDC analysts predicted that “by 2025, 40% of G2000 manufacturers will use traceability technologies to mitigate risk and boost transparency.”

Key Takeaway

This trend is spot on. We’re seeing more and more investors demanding transparency into sustainability targets, efforts, and progress. Gathering ESG data and making it available to stakeholders is a widespread challenge for companies that own and/or operate industrial facilities.  In order for data to be meaningful, it should refer to established benchmarks, follow industry frameworks, and include the status of current ESG efforts.

A Deloitte survey of 300 finance, accounting, and legal executives across a wide range of industries at US public companies revealed the sweeping need for better ESG data management. A key takeaway of the survey is, “More than half of senior executives (57% of survey respondents) indicated that data availability (access) and data quality (accuracy/completeness) remain their greatest challenges with respect to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data for disclosure.”

Action to Take Now

For ESG program success, we recommend that data tracking be incorporated into every initiative. Making high-quality data accessible must be a key requirement for every ESG partner and vendor.

Consumer-driven ESG demand is widespread

Climate change concerns and sustainability-first shopping choices are important to consumers in the US and other countries. These priorities have been a big part of driving the change for sustainability consciousness.  From Forbes: “One Forrester survey revealed that about two-thirds of online consumers in Metro China, France, and the UK — and just over half of US online adults — were concerned about the impact of climate change on society.”

Key Takeaway

With consumers demanding sustainability, the need for ESG results is spreading even faster than expected. This demand impacts all industries, not just consumer products.

Action to Take Now

To stay proactive and avoid the risks of being forced into reactive mode, organizations need to increase the effectiveness of sustainability programs and tell a compelling ESG story. Industry leaders like Walmart have been addressing environmental issues for over a decade.

Conclusion

The urgency for sustainability isn’t limited to consumer demand; other stakeholders, including investors, are also scrutinizing companies’ ESG initiatives. Although having executive buy-in is an excellent start, ESG initiatives do not typically succeed when they’re driven by individual efforts. ESG programs require a centrally-managed approach with a dedicated team to make an impact. To minimize risk, data transparency must be built into sustainability programs as part of the framework.

To learn more about leveraging sustainability as a strategic advantage, contact us by email, or, phone at 855.581.6484.