The business-insight gap

For business executives, there is no path forward that doesn’t have sustainability as a core tenet. Sustainability remains one of the highest business priorities for executives, no matter the industry in which they work.

As such, every leader in business has also effectively become an environmental, social and governance (ESG) decision maker, from the CEO on down. The situations differ, but for each leader, the importance remains high. This is the case, for example, for CFOs seeking capital from ESG fund managers, chief people officers promoting workforce diversity, and logistics leaders improving environmental compliance across supply chains.


ESG: The business insight gap

Yet the efforts of many organizations are hindered because they lack the real-time, analytical data and deep insights required to make effective decisions. This ESG void subverts the ability to address outcomes and business performance in tandem.

Traditional ESG reporting remains lamentably slow, regulatory driven and backward-looking. It fails to give the targeted, dynamic picture that business leaders need to deliver improved ESG outcomes for business and society. Many areas of firms’ extended supply chains remain terra incognita for ESG measurement, with limited tools to capture carbon emissions embedded in upstream or downstream sectors, or trace and verify compliance with labor, ethical and other ESG standards.

Four key factors underlie the ESG–business insight disconnect: data gaps or inconsistencies; combined or compounded metrics; data lag; and poor understanding of the causation pathways between ESG metrics and management performance. There is an urgency for companies to address these issues. Businesses will increasingly face pressures including new regulations, increased stakeholder screening and greater competition from businesses more skilled at manipulating the ESG data chain — and capturing more revenue, as a result.

DXC Leading Edge curated the perspectives of ESG executives, experts and thought leaders to help us shed light on how improved data strategies and next-generation technologies might play a role in providing meaningful, actionable insight to help reach ESG goals and encourage wider business commitment to ESG initiatives.

About the authors

David Reid is the research director of DXC Leading Edge, with responsibility for research, strategic thought leadership and advisory agenda. Dave has significant experience in helping business and technology executives shape their plans to exploit the opportunitiesoffered in the digital world. Alongside his leadership role, Dave has driven research into business and digital transformations; environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives; and leadership with C-level executives. He serves as a trusted advisor to many of DXC’s customers. Prior to DXC, Dave was a technology leader withGlaxoSmithKline. Connect with Dave on LinkedIn.

Cristene Gonzalez-Wertz is a senior researcher and advisor for DXC Leading Edge. She has experience in a breadth of industries, especially electronics, manufacturing and utilities. She applies an innovation mindset to sustainability and human–technology interaction research. Cristene brings a love of data and interaction design to business stories that span use cases and industries. She is an avid media consumer with her own podcast, Retail Done Right. Prior to joining DXC, Cristene spent over 10 years at IBM’s Institute of Business Value (IBV). Connect with Cristene on LinkedIn.

Mark Purdy is an internationally recognized thought leader and advisor on issues at the intersection of economics, technology and business. He has over 25 years’ experience as an economist in business and government, including 20 years as chief economist at one of the world’s largest technology consultancy companies. His recent work has focused on topics such as the future of work in the metaverse, ESG, contactless commerce, AI-powered discovery, digital twins, digital trade, the rise of technonationalism, the economics of supercomputing, and the issues of bias and quality in AI systems. He has published widely in tier-1 media and business publications such as Harvard Business Review and Sloan Management Review. Mark has also undertaken industry landscape studies in technology areas such as cloud-native, intelligent automation, and the Google and Microsoft ecosystems. Connect with him on LinkedIn.