The vast majority of companies see sustainability as a key goal, but many are unsure how to take action and even measure their efforts to go green, according to a new study.
Google Cloud surveyed 1491 executives from 16 EMEA countries about their sustainability practices. 90% of leaders have identified ESG initiatives as their organization's top priority.
However, sustainability efforts receive some of the lowest levels of investment, especially in proportion to the importance given to it. Only 9% of these companies allocated resources to sustainability goals.
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Specifically in the UK, 71% of executives said their organization was guilty of so-called greenwashing, which is higher than the EMEA average of 54%. The practice is to make empty promises with little or no actual follow through.
Research has shown a worrying gap between how companies think they are doing and how accurately they can measure it.
“Only 36% of respondents said their organizations have metrics to quantify their sustainability efforts, and only 17% use these metrics to optimize results.”
It goes without saying that it is incredibly difficult to accurately track the Sustainable Development Goals without the right tools.
Perhaps the only good news from the survey is that leaders are clearly aware of the importance of sustainability and, at least in words, have expressed a commitment to change things.
One of the main difficulties for Google Cloud itself is that cloud computing consumes a lot of resources, especially water and energy.
Managing a huge data center is an incredibly resource-intensive task, which is one reason Google, Meta and others are simultaneously building centers in cold countries and signing big deals to gobble up renewables.
Hopefully, Google can heed its own research and invest seriously and appropriately in creating a sustainable way to run the large-scale data centers that power much of the world's cloud computing.