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Leading on green, with technology

When it comes to sustainability, business leads the world – and advances in technology are helping drive this position of leadership, according to a new report.

The report from ANZ and the Economist Intelligence Unit found 95 per cent of tech industry businesses rate corporate sustainability as ‘significant’ to the businesses or higher, equal to the percentage of executives across broader industries including resources, agribusiness and financial services.

It also found 99 per cent of tech executives rated technology as important or higher in helping them achieve the goals around corporate sustainability, with 96 per cent of executives from broader industries in similar agreement.

The report, Tailored with Technology: Sustainability, is based on a survey of over 750 executive-level business leaders from around the world, who were quizzed on their expectations around technology’s impact on growth, sustainability and the economy.

Alongside social responsibility, financial incentives play a key role in the sustainability push, the report found sustainability is increasingly viewed as a way to increase competitiveness because “companies realise there is a market opportunity in being sustainable”.

As the report finds, “the potential benefits of technology in relation to sustainability are vast.”


“The potential benefits of technology in relation to sustainability are vast.”


When we speak to our customers at ANZ, it is clear awareness and sophistication around sustainable processes and issues are rapidly growing. These results of this survey are a sign of just how quickly it continues to grow.

The report found 54 per cent technology executives surveyed labelled sustainability initiatives as ‘very significant’ to their business, while 41 per cent said it was ‘significant’.

Similarly, 56 per cent of executives surveyed across broader industries – namely resources, energy & infrastructure; food, beverage and agriculture; and financial services – called sustainable efforts ‘very significant’ and 39 per cent ‘significant’.

Technology’s role in helping these businesses reach their sustainability targets was labelled ‘very important’ by 60 per cent of cross-sector executives and ‘important’ by 36 per cent’, while 56 per cent of technology execs said it was ‘very important’ and 43 per cent said it was ‘important’.

Forty three per cent of technology executives named increased innovation as the biggest impact tech is having on their push to be sustainable. Forty two per cent named improved internal efficiency and 39 per cent said improved revenue growth was a major factor.

Technology is helping these companies drive efficiencies in time and operations, as well as prevent wastage and reduce latency, which all helps improve the sustainability of their business - and the economy.


The Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by ANZ institutional, surveyed over 750 executives across the technology, resources, energy and infrastructure, food, beverages and agriculture and financial services industries in seven key markets: Australia, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States and India.

The survey, conducted in the spring and summer of 2019, was designed to capture insight into the role of technology in corporate growth, sustainability and the macro-economy.

Three reports were written based on insights from the data. You can read the second report HERE.



Respondents to the survey told The Economist Intelligence Unit sustainability was popular with stakeholder groups and increasingly attractive to markets.

“To develop new products and services, businesses are inherently reliant on technology development,” Mark Milstein, a director at Cornell University told the report. “People [customers and partners] like a sustainability component and if you can combine that with a market-oriented approach it’s a win-win.”

Of the respondents who told the survey they saw significant technology opportunities for their business in the area of sustainability, 31 per cent of executives across markets said competitiveness was the biggest factor behind their interest, while 27 per cent said positive brand image played a major role.

Among technology executives, the roles were reversed.  Thirty four per cent saw opportunities in promoting a positive brand while 29 per cent said competitiveness was the key factor.

What is clear is, whether it comes from a place of probability or image, the report indicates there is a strong connection between technology and sustainability initiatives among businesses.

And as technology continues to develop, those ties will only grow stronger.

Katharine Tapley is Head of Sustainable Finance at ANZ

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