Organizations in Southeast Asia may have ramped up their sustainability efforts but the outcomes are yet to be realized. This is one of the key points in the research conducted by software company SAP and Oxford Economics.
The research found 66% of businesses believe that sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand, however, only 8% receive significant value from their sustainability strategies today. The SAP study pointed out that the reason could be the disconnect between plans and actions.
SAP believes that better utilization of data can benefit organizations in realizing the results of their sustainability efforts. But the report found investments in data analysis to measure sustainability in business remain the minority with 47% in Singapore, 35% in Malaysia, and 31% in Indonesia. Training of staff on capturing sustainability data saw only 36% of Singapore businesses currently doing so, as opposed to 40% in Indonesia and 50% in Malaysia.
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According to the research, on average, 60% of businesses have a clearly communicated sustainability plan, with Japan leading at 68% while Indonesia scores lowest at 46%. Only 20% in the region have incentivized leaders based on its success and less than half (44%) say their employees are active participants in their sustainability efforts, with the highest in India at 52%, followed by Singapore at 51% and the lowest in Malaysia at 33%.
Data and data analytics
To bridge this gap, data and data analytics will be able to provide leaders with insights to make informed decisions. It was noted in the survey that accurate data was ranked as among the most significant activities to reach carbon reduction goals among businesses in the region.
However, the survey also found that ineffective data for decision-making is considered a moderate challenge in the region.
The research also found that less than one in six (13%) businesses in Singapore, and less than a quarter (23%) in Malaysia and Indonesia, have calculated their total organizational carbon output. A majority (60% in Singapore, and 77% in Malaysia) have begun the process in some areas versus only 31% in Indonesia. Of the businesses that have made begun measuring their carbon, 62% across the region have made changes to their processes based on the calculations.
The SAP report further noted businesses that are achieving value from sustainability are defined by traits such as setting clear expectations at the strategic level, applying the transformative power of technology and data management, and engaging with important audiences such as employees, supply chain partners, and policymakers.