Information Systems for Environmental Sustainability

IT, Resource Productivity, Environmental Preservation, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution

E&Y Survey: Systems Supporting Corporate Sustainability Reports are “Primitive”

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A new Ernst & Young survey of 272 corporate environmental sustainability executives and thought leaders primarily in the US (85%) finds that inquiries about sustainability are increasing, especially around GHG and energy reduction. But the systems used to manage the data are “primitive.”

But the growth of reporting is limited, if not undermined, by the tools companies are using to produce them. Based on our survey responses, those tools remain rudimentary, even primitive, compared with those used for reporting on financial measures. When asked to name the tools used to compile their sustainability reports, companies cited spreadsheets, centralized databases, emails and phone calls as the principal tools, with about one in four (24%) using packaged software. Respondents also reported being challenged to find the right data, assess its credibility, and determine which data were material for reporting purposes — all suggesting that the state-of-the-art of reporting systems remains nascent.

Can we trust data produced by “rudimentary,” “primitive” systems?

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Author: nigelpm

Associate Professor of Information Systems, Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan - Helping organizations to navigate digital transformation.

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