The Oracle Study: No Planet B finds:
- 96% of respondents in India believe society has not made enough progress on sustainability and social efforts
- 82% of people in India are frustrated and fed up with the lack of progress made by businesses
- 97% of business leaders in India believe human bias and emotions hurt corporate sustainability efforts
People around the world are demanding more progress on sustainability and social efforts and are looking to businesses to step up, according to a new study by Oracle and Pamela Rucker, CIO Advisor, Instructor for Harvard Professional Development. The “No Planet B” study surveyed more than 11,000 consumers and business leaders across 15 countries and found that people are fed up with the lack of progress society is making towards sustainability and social initiatives, want businesses to turn talk into act ion, and believe technology can help businesses succeed where people have failed.
People want businesses to step up sustainability and social efforts
The events of the past two years have put a spotlight on sustainability and social efforts with people worldwide fed up with the lack of progress and calling for businesses to step up. Below are some key findings:
- 93 percent of global respondents believe sustainability and social factors are more important than ever and 80 percent said the events over the past two years have caused them to change their actions. In India, 97 percent of people believe sustainability and social factors are more important than ever and 95% said the events over the past two years have caused them to change their actions.
- 94 percent believe society has not made enough progress. 42 percent attribute the lack of progress to people being too busy with other priorities, 39 percent believe it is the result of more emphasis on short-term profits over long-term benefits, and 37 percent believe people are too lazy or selfish to help save the planet. In comparison, 96 percent of respondents from India believe society has not made enough progress. 42 percent attribute the lack of progress to people being too busy with other priorities, 44 percent believe it is the result of more emphasis on short-term profits over long-term benefits, and 43 percent believe people are too lazy or selfish to help save the planet.
- 45 percent globally and 54 percent in India believe businesses can make more meaningful changes to sustainability and social factors than individuals or governments alone
- 78 percent globally and 82 percent in India are frustrated and fed up with the lack of progress by businesses to-date, and 89 percent globally and 93 percent in India believe it’s not enough for businesses to say they’re prioritizing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) – they need to see action and proof.
- 84 percent globally and 96 percent in India believe businesses would make more progress towards sustainability and social goals with the help of AI. 61 percent globally while 83 percent in India even believe bots will succeed where humans have failed.
Human bias and operational challenges are holding businesses back
Business leaders know sustainability efforts are critical to corporate success and even trust bots over humans alone to drive sustainability and social efforts:
- 92 percent believe sustainability and ESG programs are critical to the success of their organizations. Executives identified the top three benefits as strengthening the brand (40 percent); increasing productivity (39 percent); and attracting new customers (38 percent) whereas in India 96 percent believe sustainability and ESG programs are critical to the success of their organizations. Executives in India identified the top three benefits as strengthening the brand (52 percent); increasing productivity (53 percent); and attracting new customers (47 percent).
- Almost all business leaders (91 percent globally and 98 percent in India) are facing major obstacles when implementing sustainability and ESG initiatives. The biggest challenges include obtaining ESG metrics from partners and third parties (35 percent globally and 51 percent in India); a lack of data (33 percent globally and 39 percent in India); and time-consuming manual reporting processes (32 percent globally and 46 percent in India).
- 96 percent of business leaders admit human bias and emotion often distract from the end goal and 89 percent believe organizations that use technology to help drive sustainable business practices will be the ones to succeed in the long run. In India, 97 percent of business leaders admit human bias and emotion often distract from the end goal, and 98 percent believe organizations that use technology to help drive sustainable business practices will be the ones that succeed in the long run.
- 93 percent of business leaders would trust a bot over a human to make sustainability and social decisions. They believe bots are better at collecting different types of data without error (43 percent); making rational, unbiased decisions (42 percent); and predicting future outcomes based on metrics/past performance (41 percent). 98 percent of business leaders in India would trust a bot over a human to make sustainability and social decisions. They believe bots are better at collecting different types of data without error (53 percent); making rational, unbiased decisions (56 percent); and predicting future outcomes based on metrics/past performance (50 percent).
- Business leaders believe people are still essential to the success of sustainability and social initiatives and believe people are better at implementing changes based on feedback from stakeholders (globally 48 percent and 60 percent in India); educating others on the information needed to make decisions (globally 46 percent and 60 percent in India); and making context-informed strategic decisions (globally 42 percent and 47 percent in India).
People will cut ties with businesses that don’t take action on sustainability and social initiatives
Businesses need to prioritize sustainability and social issues and rethink how they use technology to make an impact or risk facing major consequences.
- 94 percent of people want to make progress on sustainability and social factors to establish healthier ways of living (50 percent); save the planet for future generations (49 percent); and help create more equality around the world (46 percent). In this parameter, 98 percent of people in India want to make progress on sustainability and social factors to establish healthier ways of living (55 percent); save the planet for future generations (54 percent) and help create more equality around the world (54 percent).
- Globally, 70 percent and 85 percent of people in India would be willing to cancel their relationship with a brand that does not take sustainability and social initiatives seriously, and globally 69 percent and 84 percent in India would even leave their current company to work for a brand that places a greater focus on these efforts.
- If organizations can clearly demonstrate the progress they are making on environmental and social issues, people would be more willing to pay a premium for their products and services (87 percent); invest in them (83 percent); and work for them (83 percent). In India, if organizations can clearly demonstrate the progress they are making on environmental and social issues, people would be more willing to pay a premium for their products and services (97 percent); invest in their companies (93 percent); and work for them (94 percent).
- Business leaders understand the importance and urgency – 94 percent globally and 96 percent in India believe sustainability and societal metrics should be used to inform traditional business metrics, and 91 percent globally and 96 percent in India want to increase their investment in sustainability.
“The events of the past two years have put sustainability and social initiatives under the microscope and people are demanding material change. While there are challenges to tackling these issues, businesses have an immense opportunity to change the world for the better,” said Pamela Rucker, CIO Advisor and Instructor for Harvard Professional Development. “The results show that people are more likely to do business with and work for organizations that act responsibly toward our society and the environment. This is an opportune moment. While thinking has evolved, technology has as well, and it can play a key role in overcoming many of the obstacles that have held progress back.”
“It’s never been more critical for businesses to invest in sustainability and ESG initiatives, as people don’t just want to hear about it – they’re looking for decisive action and are demanding more transparency and tangible results,” said Juergen Lindner, senior vice president and CMO, Global Marketing SaaS, Oracle. “Business leaders understand the importance, yet often have the erroneous assumption that they need to prioritize either profits or sustainability. The truth is this is not a zero-sum game. The technology that can eliminate all the obstacles to ESG efforts is now available, and organizations that get this right can not only support their communities and the environment, but also realize significant revenue gains, cost savings, and other benefits that impact the bottom line.”
“Today sustainability is not just a topic for boardroom discussion, but a critical brand differentiator,” said Kaushik Mitra, Senior Director, Cloud ERP, Oracle India. “Our data indicate that customers are considering the social and environmental impact of their choices. As companies face rising demands from consumers, governments, and their own boards, a clear sustainability vision combined with some real creativity—and enabled by innovative technologies, including AI and machine learning, can both make an environmental difference and enhance a company’s brand reputation.”
“Given Asia Pacific’s large share of the global population and emissions, climate vulnerabilities, and technological and financial strengths, the global fight against climate change will be won or lost in Asia Pacific. It’s imperative that we take action on climate change and businesses have a narrowing window to lead the way,” said Will Symons, Asia Pacific Sustainability and Climate Lead, Deloitte. “It is great to see organizations like Oracle helping businesses to step up and prioritize sustainability. The study results show people want businesses to prioritize progress on sustainability and are willing to reward those who lead. To do this organizations must re-think how they use technology to shift from ambition to action on sustainability commitments while ensuring transparency and accountability to all stakeholders.”
Learn more about this global report here: www.oracle.com/noplanetb
Research findings are based on a survey conducted by Savanta, Inc. between February 25 – March 14, 2022 with 11,005 global respondents from 15 countries (United States, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France, China, India, Australia, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Mexico). 1,000 respondents from India were included in the study. The survey explored attitudes and behaviors of consumers and business leaders towards sustainability and social efforts along with the role and expectations of artificial intelligence (AI) and robots in environmental, societal, and governance (ESG) efforts.
Oracle offers integrated suites of applications plus secure, autonomous infrastructure in the Oracle Cloud. For more information about Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), please visit us at oracle.com.
About Pamela Rucker
Pamela Rucker is a CIO advisor and instructor for Harvard Professional Development. She brings more than 25 years of experience helping executives to understand their business drivers, and to develop solutions that increase their bottom line. She has used her practical experience to provide executive education for numerous Fortune 500 firms and has coached leaders at some of the world’s most recognizable brands and leading academic institutions.