Environment, Social, Governance (ESG) is a top priority for many businesses today; not only do companies need to meet regulatory requirements but they also must appeal to new buyer segments and retain existing customer loyalty by demonstrating environmental leadership. And, of course, companies must respond to stakeholders integrating sustainability considerations into their decision-making processes, recognizing the potential impact on financial performance, long-term value creation and the business’ reputation.  

Technology presents a significant opportunity to address ESG at scale. From data analytics and IoT sensors, to blockchain and AI, technology can facilitate real-time monitoring, predictive analysis and transparent reporting of key sustainability metrics. Additionally, when vendors build strong collaborative relationships, they can help customers drive sustainability efforts, from the supply chain to the data center.

In support of these goals, DXC Technology and Dell Technologies are working together to leverage our collective strengths as technology leaders — including our significant resources, expertise and influence within multiple industries — to help customers meet their ESG responsibilities, overcome obstacles, and build resilient and sustainable business ecosystems that create shared value for all stakeholders while mitigating risks and driving growth.

The power of collaboration

ESG benefits multiply when technology companies cooperate on innovations that positively impact the environment. As an example, Dell Technologies and DXC have demonstrated a commitment to optimizing energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and minimizing environmental impact in data centers. Developing sustainable solutions to address pressing environmental challenges, such as the substantial greenhouse emissions associated with data centers, can draw upon advancements in renewable energy technologies that can help reduce reliance on fossil fuels, while data-driven insights can optimize resource allocation and enhance operational efficiency. Innovative software solutions that promote sustainability, by enabling real-time monitoring of equipment performance, can help companies right-size and optimize their infrastructure for optimal compute power and energy consumption. Dell CloudIQ is an example of a solution that can help companies better manage and utilize their IT infrastructure.

Customers — particularly in data center-intense industries such as telecom and financial services — can take advantage of such solutions to promote sustainability changes in their infrastructures. But taking it a step further, leaders across various sectors can engage in their own collaborative efforts to create shared value, mitigate risks and promote responsible business practices to address many other ESG-related concerns. Such initiatives, themselves fueled by technological innovation and a commitment to transparency, can lead to creative solutions to complex ESG challenges that can be widely shared across industries. 

Think, too, about direct partnerships between businesses, such as automotive manufacturers and renewable energy providers, and technology vendors that draw on each other’s perspectives and expertise — e.g., data analytics, digital connectivity, Industry 4.0 — that can bring ESG to the streets, literally. Together, a team like this could develop integrated smart grid solutions for electric vehicles, reducing emissions and enhancing energy efficiency. Or, by engaging with stakeholders across supply chains in the electronics manufacturing industry, technology companies can help identify opportunities for participants to reduce energy consumption, minimize waste and mitigate environmental harm throughout product lifecycles. Imagine the positive impact of reducing the carbon footprints that exacerbate environmental degradation in this industry, from raw material extraction to product assembly and distribution.  

Cross-industry partnerships are a powerful tool for advancing sustainability goals and driving positive change in other ways, too. Together, leaders across sectors can amplify the voice of businesses in advocating for policy change and driving systemic transformation, helping to shape regulations, standards and market dynamics in favor of sustainability.


A guide to creating an ESG-focused business

Companies can capitalize on the opportunities that ESG presents, lessen the risks of non-compliance and make progress on key sustainability issues throughout their value chains. Take these steps to help you reach these goals:

The positive outcomes of collective action can transcend those of single-entity initiatives. By forging alliances across industries, organizations can leverage diverse perspectives and resources to pioneer comprehensive solutions. This interconnectedness fosters symbiotic relationships, where advancements in one sector ripple across others, catalyzing systemic change and propelling the journey towards a more resilient, equitable and sustainable future. Industry associations, trade groups and other third-party organizations can be helpful, bringing together various companies to amplify their voices for collective impact.

Enhancing supply chain sustainability requires a nuanced grasp of the reciprocal relationship between ESG principles and regulatory frameworks. By understanding this dynamic interplay, businesses can align their operations with evolving regulations while simultaneously leveraging best practices to drive efficiency, resilience and social responsibility throughout their supply chains, fostering long-term sustainability and competitive advantage.

Companies need to integrate robust sustainability criteria into finance, accounting, procurement, investment, lending and underwriting practices. By systematically evaluating sustainability factors, businesses can mitigate risks, seize opportunities and align financial activities with long-term societal and environmental goals, fostering resilience, innovation and value creation across diverse sectors and markets.

This involves recognizing unique organizational and industry landscapes, as well as scale and nuances for each individual business. By tailoring these processes to specific contexts, businesses can more effectively identify, assess and address sustainability risks while capitalizing on emerging opportunities. This nuanced approach facilitates transparency, accountability, informed decision-making and positive impact across diverse sectors and stakeholders.

Using technology for sustainability reporting and risk management can enhance transparency, auditability and adaptability to regulatory disclosure requirements. By harnessing innovative tools and platforms, businesses can streamline data collection, analysis and reporting processes. This enables them to provide more granular and timely insights into ESG performance, exhibiting accountability and credibility to build stakeholder trust, and driving continuous improvement and positive societal impact.


Leveraging technology for ESG reporting and risk management

Technology plays an increasingly pivotal role in ESG reporting, capable of ushering in a new era of efficiency, transparency and accountability. Disclosing ESG performance requires tools to navigate the complexities of reporting requirements effectively. The amount of data required for ESG reporting is significant, necessitating robust aggregation and management systems. With data analytics platforms and big data processing tools, businesses can effectively gather, process and oversee ESG-related data from internal systems, external databases and third-party providers. In this way, they are not only positioned to more accurately report their ESG performance, but also can enhance their capacity to assimilate and analyze ESG data to identify emerging trends and risks, empowering them to continuously make data-driven decisions to align their operations with their growing sustainability missions. 

Importantly, data analytics platforms can uncover correlations between ESG metrics and financial performance, offering valuable insights for investors and decision-makers; they can incorporate ESG considerations into their investment decisions and strategic planning processes. Financial services institutions can also factor this into their lending practices. And companies can lean on these platforms to analyze vast amounts of ESG-related data that comes from unstructured sources — such as news articles and social media posts — using natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis. That way, they can gain insights into public perceptions of their environmental and social performance to inform their ESG reporting strategies and identify areas for improving sustainability or managing their reputations.

Among the most transformative technologies shaping ESG reporting are artificial intelligence (AI), large language models (LLMs) and machine learning (ML). These technologies have revolutionized and continue to impact how companies analyze data, identify patterns and extract insights, with algorithms to automate the collection, validation and analysis of ESG-related data, significantly streamlining reporting processes. This enhances operational efficiency and delivers reliable and consistently reported data (human errors are minimized when manual processes are automated). As an example of AI in action for sustainability, Dell customer, New Belgium Brewing Company, has leveraged Dell VxRail’s solution to improve sustainability with real-time AI inferencing; compliance has improved 25% via real-time, edge insights for faster access.

As the use cases for Internet of Things (IoT) devices mature, with companies deploying IoT sensors to collect real-time, granular data on environmental performance metrics such as energy consumption, water usage and carbon emissions, ESG reporting timeliness and accuracy will increase. This real-time data can also facilitate proactive decision-making, enabling companies to identify and address environmental inefficiencies as they arise. Technology companies can aid in the manufacture, installation monitoring and operation of these IoT devices, as well as analyzing the resulting data.

Blockchain technology has emerged as another revolutionary innovation in ESG reporting. With its transparent record-keeping mechanism, blockchain ensures the integrity and authenticity of reported ESG data. By leveraging blockchain technology, companies can create tamper-proof records of their ESG performance, providing stakeholders with verifiable evidence of their commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices. Blockchain also facilitates supply chain transparency, allowing companies to track the provenance of raw materials and ensure ethical sourcing practices, reducing the risks of partnering with companies that are not compliant with ESG regulations. At the same time, it also fosters trust and credibility between business partners, which can enable deeper collaborations.

Cloud-based platforms and scalable infrastructure offer a robust solution for managing ESG-related data efficiently. These platforms provide the flexibility and capacity required to handle large volumes of data securely and cost-effectively. Businesses can centralize their ESG data to streamline reporting processes. Cloud-based platforms also make it easier for stakeholders to share data and collaborate, serving as another way to foster transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain.

It’s evident that a sustainable future is within our reach. Getting there will demand that businesses leverage technology such as those solutions mentioned above, and that leaders work closely within their industries, across sectors and with technology partners, such as DXC Technology and Dell, which deliver innovative sustainability solutions.

Learn more about DXC's partnership with Dell Technologies.

About the authors

Dr. Alex Kokkonen is a senior researcher and advisor for DXC Technology, working with customers to solve their most pressing business issues via research-led advisory interventions. With over 25 years of experience, Alex brings extensive international and multi-industry experience from working in a variety of multidisciplinary leadership positions and diverse cultural settings for major blue-chip companies. She has driven IT and business research concepts into business transformations and holds two doctorates, one in IT and one in business. Prior to joining DXC, Alex held a variety of leadership roles, most recently in KPMG’s CIO Advisory and Technology Enablement practice. Connect with Alex on LinkedIn.

Meaghan Krohn is Dell’s Lead Climate Strategist, responsible for the company’s Net Zero goal and related efforts to drive down emissions across the value chain. Her responsibilities include executing on the company’s Climate Action strategy, with a particular focus on Dell’s work to decarbonize their customer base. She has been a part of Dell and its ESG organization since September 2022. Prior to Dell, she led McKesson’s climate change strategy and reporting work, where she led the creation of the company’s first-ever greenhouse gas targets. Meaghan has spent her entire career in the ESG space, beginning with her Climate Corps internship with Syniverse, then developing her GHG accounting expertise at CDP, before transitioning to a sustainability consultancy role at VOX Global. Meaghan earned her Bachelor of Arts from McGill University, and her Master of Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Meaghan resides outside of Portland, Maine.