Skip to main content Skip to footer
Cognizant ANZ Blog

There are powerful business opportunities for those who progress their sustainability mission. Here's five ways Australian leaders can accelerate their transformation journey.     

Cognizant's Deep Green report into the latest global business, survey conducted in conjunction with Oxford Economics, shows many areas where Australian business is falling behind. The good news? Leadership in sustainability is proving to deliver positive business outcomes, and there is a clear path to move every enterprise toward the opportunities that a robust sustainailibty focus can bring. 

In our report, we have identified five recommendations to accelerate sustainability leadership in any Australian enterprise. Wherever you are on your journey, we think many of these factors can move the needle on sustainability progress.

Start anywhere

Australia sees less than half of all respondents to our survey (46%) in agreement that environmental strategy is fully integrated into business strategy, compared with 52% globally. Alignment to current or future regulatory demands was also below the global norm. 

"To build momentum, it's important to begin taking action before a 'full' plan is in place and well before regulations dictate a need for urgent action."

By taking proactive first steps on your own terms, you will be in a better position to deliver results, save on costs or penalties for late action, or find yourself left out of competitive opportunities as sustainability mandates spread through the ecosystem. As one survey respondent said, “This is not a nice-to-have; this is a must-have, and this is table stakes to even be included in our RFP or a tender.”

Elevate sustainability roles 

There is a strong sentiment toward environmental action in our survey results, with 63% of Australian and 66% of global respondents agreeing a strong sustainability culture is in place in their organisation. But it is the question of structural integration where things need to progress. Australia shows higher rates of keeping the CEO and COO with funding and strategy approval for sustainability compared to global trends.

Real results are achievable when sustainability leaders have the power to make strategic decisions. Businesses need to elevate the organisational power of their heads of sustainability and give them the ability to set standards and practices that the organisation needs to adhere to. Solving the funding concerns can follow when these changes are made at the strategic leadership level. Sustainability leads should work closely with the CIO and COO to plan for enterprise-wide transformation that embeds sustainability into all areas of business measurement and reporting.

Become a fast follower

While Australian businesses are lagging behind the global average in several areas, they can catch up quickly by adopting the best practices that leaders have demonstrated. There are many roadblocks to leadership, but many examples continuously emerge that can be followed toward sustainability success. Moving quickly toward real outcomes is made easier by observing what works well for similar companies and industries, as well as avoiding observed pitfalls.

Pursue green capital

There is a big push for green bonds and sustainability-linked loans in the finance world. In our work with Orica, for example, the company is now charting its progress against key performance indicators of sustainability aligned with public commitments. Its performance against agreed upon milestones will be rewarded with discounts on the loan margin, while underperformance is penalised. Using advanced data analysis will quickly become a way to access highly competitive capital for sustainability investments.

Boost your data maturity

We cannot change what we don’t measure. There’s work to be done globally, with 49% of respondents having capacity to report data on sustainability performance in a timely fashion. In Australia it was just 41%.

Organisations need to investigate data capture and analysis platforms to truly understand their environmental impact. Beyond tracking carbon emissions, we will also quickly need to account for impacts on biodiversity, water usage, habitat and other natural resources. All of this required data and advanced analytics foundations to be firmly in place. Combined with other increasingly sophisticated and mature technology capabilities, Australian businesses will gain the visibility they need to shape their environmental impacts, mitigate risk and discover new opportunities throughout the value chain.

A Deep Green future for every business

Driven by ingenuity, a collaborative spirit and the courage to change, business leaders will meet the call for radical transparency, authenticity and resilience, in tune with the prevailing winds of change. “Sustainability” and “business” must become one and the same, and we are sure we are on that path as the two become intertwined in a deeply green world.

Richard Blundell

ANZ Head of Business Consulting, Cognizant

Author Image

Tom McQueen

Head of Sustainability Practice ANZ, Cognizant

Author Image

In focus
Sustainability as a business strategy

Making positive sustainability progress in Australian enterprise

In focus image

Latest blog posts
Related blog posts