INNOPAY believes we urgently need to develop effective Digital Sustainability policies and customer, partner and employee propositions to combat data pollution and safeguard the future wellbeing of our digital world. The core component of Digital Sustainability is the extension of Corporate Social Responsibility strategies to encompass the digital realm. Just as we are focusing on protecting the physical environment, we also need to work together to detoxify our virtual living space from data pollution.
In our ongoing Digital Sustainability research, we are inquiring European organisations to understand how they see the current and future state of Digital Sustainability. Initial results show that – whilst we are heading in the right direction – we need to make more progress to secure our digital environment, and maximise the societal and commercial benefits which will accrue from well-designed Digital CSR strategies.
Growing awareness for digital sustainability
Our research shows a growing awareness that Digital CSR means more than just safeguarding data privacy, with organisations sensing that they need to put people back in control of their data. Two-thirds of organisations now feel it is important that they "make it possible for data owners (people, partners, suppliers etc.) to have control over their personal and business data".
More than 70% of organisations now believe that "reforms are needed for end users to take back ownership of their data", and nearly 60% are worried about "the societal consequences of an internet monopolized by a handful of firms".
This trend dovetails with our belief that the guiding principle of a well-constructed Digital CSR policy must be Data Sovereignty. Business leaders and public policy-makers need to focus upon giving people effective control over their data, and the right to reap the benefits from it.
Significant gap between aspirations and reality in most organisations
Although an overwhelming majority of organisations express their belief in the necessity of demonstrating effective Digital CSR in the next phase of the digital era, less than a quarter of organisations feel that they currently have excellent Digital CSR policies in place. In essence, they are not yet providing a level of Digital Sustainability which will meet the future needs of their organisations and associated stakeholders.
Two of the main causes unpinning this gap between aspirations and reality are:
- Many organisations are not yet recognising the full range of commercial benefits which can accrue from implementing good Digital CSR policies, and therefore the momentum to move is relatively slow
- Achieving effective Digital Sustainability requires progressive leadership thinking and depends on collaborative enterprises between the private and public sectors, which necessitates a combination of central legislation and individual innovation
We have extensive experience of developing Digital Sustainability and Digital CSR strategies. To discuss how your organisation can take the first steps to tackling the challenges and opportunities discussed in this article, feel free to contact us.