Best Practices: ESG & Sustainability Digital Strategies For Energy, Manufacturing And Resources

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Executive Summary

To support the operationalization of ESG and sustainability strategies, energy, manufacturing and resources firms are adopting myriad solutions. Drawing on sector-specific interviews with senior practitioners in IT and sustainability, this report highlights emerging best practices for addressing sustainability challenges and developing ESG digital strategies. Senior sustainability and IT professionals, in cooperation with other stakeholders that form part of their digital sustainability strategy teams, should use this report to garner best practices and apply them to their own organization and strategy. 

Table of contents

The energy, manufacturing and resources sectors power and produce sustainable futures
An overview of the energy, manufacturing and resources sectors
The energy, manufacturing and resources sectors face pressure from all sides to enhance sustainability performance
Data challenges and organizational complexities hinder sustainability performance improvements
Best practices for developing a digital strategy for ESG and sustainability
Appropriate internal organizational structures are crucial for success
Setting out the necessary processes supports implementation and utilization
Building a digital strategy maximizes the value of ESG software investment
Digital solutions integrate sustainability into key business activities

Table of figures

Figure 1. Industry mapping to NAICS sectors and sub-sectors
Figure 2a. Energy sector sustainability outlook
Figure 2b. Manufacturing sector sustainability outlook
Figure 2c. Resources sector sustainability outlook
Figure 3. Impact of corporate decarbonization targets on the digital transformation of plant operations
Figure 4. Top challenges to sustainability performance improvements in energy, manufacturing and resources 
Figure 5. Representative material sustainability issues for firms in energy, manufacturing and resources 
Figure 6. Examples of industry collaboration to improve sustainability performance
Figure 7. Best practices for digital sustainability strategies in energy, manufacturing and resources

About the authors

Lily Turnbull

Senior Analyst
Lily is a Senior Analyst in the Verdantix ESG & Sustainability practice. Her current research agenda focuses on ESG and sustainability services, ESG assurance, and sustainable finance. Lily joined Verdantix in 2022 and has previous experience in social impact research and ESG software development. She holds an MSc in Women, Peace & Security from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Theology & Religion from the University of Bristol.

Guy Lewis

Industry Analyst
Guy is an Industry Analyst in the Verdantix ESG & Sustainability practice. He currently leads research on circular economy software and services and supports research across several other ESG and sustainability themes. Prior to joining Verdantix, Guy was an energy specialist helping to optimize member experience, through which he gained knowledge of both operations and smart technologies. Guy holds a BA in Geography from the University of Manchester, with a placement year at the University of Queensland.

Kim Knickle

Research Director, ESG & Sustainability
Kimberly Knickle is Research Director of the ESG & Sustainability practice at Verdantix. Her research areas encompass ESG regulations and reporting, ESG risk, supply chain sustainability, circular economy, social impact, and sustainable finance. Kim has worked for more than 20 years in the IT industry, providing research and analysis to help companies invest wisely in new technologies. Before joining the analyst industry, she held various roles in IT services, engineering and product safety testing, beginning her career at Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. Kim holds an MBA from Boston University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell.

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