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88% of Aussie Business Leaders Believe Bots Make Better Decisions than People

Sustainability and social decisions better left to the bots Aussie business leaders believe

Australians are demanding more progress on corporate sustainability and social responsibility from businesses, but not all business leaders are confident in the ability of their people to make the right call on such matters, instead putting their faith in automated bots to make decisions in key areas, according to a new study “No Planet B” by Oracle and Pamela Rucker, CIO Advisor and Instructor for Harvard Professional Development.

The full No Planet B Global Study of more than 11,000 consumers and business leaders across 15 countries, including 1,000 from Australia, found that most people are fed up with the lack of progress society is making towards sustainability and social initiatives, want businesses to turn talk into action, and believe technology can help businesses succeed where people have failed. 

“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 organisations 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,” she added.

Key findings from the report include:

Human bias and operational challenges are holding businesses back

Sustainability and social responsibility have taken centre stage in the way the businesses interact with consumers and each other. Business leaders are becoming acutely aware that sustainability efforts are critical to corporate success. But the way businesses are responding to these considerations has been mixed, with some business leaders in Australia even trusting bots over humans alone to drive sustainability and social efforts:

  • 85 percent of Australian business leaders surveyed believe sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) programs are critical to the success of their organisations. Executives identified the top four benefits as strengthening the brand (36 percent); attracting new customers (35 percent); increasing productivity (31 percent); and improving supply chain management (31 percent).
  • The vast majority of Australian business leaders (83 percent) are facing major obstacles when implementing sustainability and ESG initiatives. The biggest challenges include difficulty tracking progress (32 percent); obtaining ESG metrics from partners and third parties (30 percent); and a lack of data with which to track progress (30 percent).
  • 95 percent of business leaders in Australia admit human bias and emotion often distract from the end goal, and 83 percent believe organisations that use technology to help drive sustainable business practices will be the ones that succeed in the long run.
  • 88 percent of local 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 (44 percent); predicting future outcomes based on metrics/past performance (39 percent); and making rational, unbiased decisions (38 percent).
  • However, 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 (45 percent); making context-informed strategic decisions (42 percent); and educating others on information needed to make decisions (41 percent).

Australians want  businesses to step up sustainability and social efforts

Recent events have worked to illuminate sustainability and social efforts, with people fed up with the lack of progress and calling for businesses to step up and make real change:

  • 91 percent of respondents from Australia believe sustainability and social factors are more important than ever and 68 percent said the events over the past two years have caused them to change their actions.
  • 91 percent believe society has not made enough progress. 44 percent attribute the lack of progress to people being too busy with other priorities, 41 percent believe it is the result of more emphasis on short-term profits over long-term benefits, and 40 percent believe people are too lazy or selfish to help save the planet.
  • 45 percent respondents from believe businesses can make more meaningful change on sustainability and social factors than individuals or governments alone.
  • 76 percent are frustrated and fed up with the lack of progress by businesses to-date, and 85 percent believe it’s not enough for businesses to say they’re prioritising ESG,  they need to see action and proof.
  • 71 percent of Australian respondents believe businesses would make more progress towards sustainability and social goals with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

People  will cut ties with businesses that don’t take action on sustainability and social initiatives

The desire for Australians to see progress on the sustainability and social fronts is almost unanimous, with many willing to take action if change does not come. Businesses need to prioritise sustainability and social issues and rethink how they use technology to make an impact – or risk facing major consequences.

  • 89 percent of people surveyed in Australia said they want to make progress on sustainability and social factors to save the planet for future generations (53 percent); establish healthier ways of living (52 percent); and help create more equality around the world (47 percent).
  • 63 percent of people would be willing to cancel their relationship with a brand that does not take sustainability and social initiatives seriously, with the same percentage again indicating they would even leave their current company to work for a brand that places a greater focus on these efforts.
  • If organisations can clearly demonstrate the progress they are making on environmental and social issues, the majority of those surveyed said they would be more willing to pay a premium for their products and services (77 percent); work for them (76 percent); and invest in them (74 percent).
  • Australian business leaders understand the importance and urgency – 89 percent believe sustainability and societal metrics should be used to inform traditional business metrics, and 90 percent want to increase their investment in sustainability.

“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 John Leonard, Vice President of Applications, Oracle Australia. “Business leaders understand the importance, yet often have the erroneous assumption that they need to prioritise 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 organisations that get this right can not only support their communities and the environment, but also realise significant revenue gains, cost savings, and other benefits that impact the bottom line,” he added.

“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 organisations like Oracle helping businesses to step up and prioritise sustainability. The study results show people want businesses to prioritise 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.”

Secondary editor and executive officer at Tech Business News. Contracting as an IT support engineer for 20 years Matthew has a passion for sharing his knowledge of the technology industry. He's also an advocate for global cyber security matters.

Matthew Giannelis
Matthew Giannelis
Secondary editor and executive officer at Tech Business News. Contracting as an IT support engineer for 20 years Matthew has a passion for sharing his knowledge of the technology industry. He's also an advocate for global cyber security matters.

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