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Environmental Social Governance in the Technology Sector

Ben Romberg

Ben Romberg

Client Strategy Director | ESG | Technology | ABM

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has fallen out of corporate nomenclature. ESG seeks to replace CSR as a more holistic and all-encompassing part of the corporate mission but in order to be effective it needs to lead to real action in sustainability practises and a new corporate social charter.

The technology sector has historically had a problem with sustainability. Unlike other industries that have been forced to change their environmental and social practises due to mounting consumer pressure, the tech sector has often been left to its own devices. This is starting to change.

US President Joe Biden has made it clear that this will be a ‘decisive decade’ for tackling climate change and technology firms have a part to play in reducing global carbon emissions. Each organisation needs to consider their commitments from an environmental, social and governance perspective.

ESG is a board-level agenda item as most major tech companies are now publishing sustainability reports and implementing decarbonisation or green initiatives, creating new social charters for their employees, shareholders and clients. Many of the Fortune 500 have signed up to the UN Global Compact which is a voluntary CEO commitment to implement universal sustainability principles. Others have applied for a listing in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index to attract green investment and show commitment to Paris-Aligned Climate Transition Actions. Arguably this is still not enough to make ESG a real and meaningful part of the corporate mission.

Making it real has to be led by real-world action and often this means reducing carbon footprints, investing in social and governance initiatives but also choosing who you partner with and do business with is key.

Hotwire Marketing have been working to develop partnership ESG opportunities for some of the world’s largest technology companies including Citrix, IBM and Dell Technologies. Identifying where the natural overlap exists in areas such as decarbonisation, social improvements in STEM and education, mental health awareness and corporate governance. In identifying the overlap with key partners, clients and social institutions it is possible to form campaigns that make a real-world difference.

For example, NTT Ltd. and Cisco teamed up to create the Connected Conservation project in Northern Kenya that protects local species in that region including the Africa Rhino and prevent poaching.

Chris Panzeca, Global Strategic Partner Sales at Cisco: “NTT and Cisco have joined forces to create a safer, more prosperous, and sustainable world for future generations. Connected Conservation mirrors the innovation we deliver our clients by using cutting-edge technology to solve their business needs, empower local communities, and protect endangered species. We’re extremely proud to expand Connected Conservation into Northern Kenya.”

More recently Microsoft and Accenture announced a shared commitment to accelerate the UK’s efforts to transition to low carbon economy using cloud, data and AI to help drive transformational change for utilities and energy companies. Together both Microsoft and Accenture launched a Green Software Foundation along with software companies like GitHub and Thoughtworks.

Our own client Citrix conducted an ESG survey in July 2020 which revealed that ESG is something that employees care about just as much as customers and partners:

  • 90% feel working for an environmentally responsible company is important
  • 86% feel that working for a company with a social purpose is important
  • 82% would like to be informed of environmental and social projects within Citrix
  • 85% believe commitment by Citrix senior leadership to ESG issues strengthens their opinion of the company

For ESG to become a credible part of the corporate mission, firms need to create practical steps for showing the real-world commitments that bring these positive effects to staff, partners, clients and shareholders.

Hotwire Marketing stand ready to kick start similar initiatives through the power of partnerships and alliances.

Reach out to us to find out more.

Ben Romberg
Client Strategy Director, Hotwire Marketing