As the world’s leaders gather in Glasgow this week for COP26, the need for urgent action to protect our climate is more evident than ever, but what impact will this have on business and what is the role of data?
While the details of COP26 are still being negotiated as we write, it is highly likely that there will be far greater scrutiny of the environmental credentials of all businesses moving forward.
Such scrutiny will be driven by a mixture of increasingly demanding customers and far greater government regulation, which will probably require audit and compliance.
Of course, some markets are already very used to adhering to strict environmental controls and large companies are increasingly keen to promote their green credentials in TV advertisements, but arguably this is the tip of the iceberg.
Businesses of all sizes and in all sectors will be required to document and demonstrate their carbon footprint.
So where does data fit into this?
We believe that in future, having data on the environmental impact of a business could be as important as financial data. Customers will demand transparency of the environmental impact of their favourite brands.
This touches every part of a business, including product development, business travel, supply chain and logistics, cloud software, storage, physical locations and almost anything else you can think of!
The ability to collect and understand such diverse data sets will be critical. It could also be hugely costly, with a substantial overhead to manage properly.
In our view, it will become more critical than ever for businesses to view data as a strategic business asset and have a trusted central view of the whole company in one place.
Existing data architectures in most businesses simply won’t be able to cope with future demands, so now is the time to think more strategically about data and its ability to recommend a sustainable path to delight your customers and improve your environmental impact.
Either way, while increased environmental scrutiny will cause some headaches for business, let’s hope the politicians can agree some meaningful targets this week to protect our planet.