Investing in technology? Think of environment
As Eco-Business noted in a report, transitioning to a low carbon economy is gaining momentum in Southeast Asia, but investments in renewable energy and storage, clean energy public transport systems and energy-efficient technologies and innovations are most needed. Businesses in the region are joining the population in taking the threat more seriously by looking for ways to evaluate and improve the environmental impact of every aspect of their business, from products to process, in response to changing customer preferences among other factors. SMEs are particularly aware of how these changing preferences can affect their business. Almost 30% of respondents in an Epson survey of SMEs in six of the largest Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nations by GDP ranked managing customer experience as their top business challenge. About half of the respondents in the Philippines considered this to be a top concern. Recognizing the increasing importance of environmental concerns among their customers, close to 70 percent of the corporate SMEs in the region polled by Epson said they consider the impact on the environment when choosing an office printer. Thai SMEs in the study showed the most consideration of the environment when making office printer purchases. Studies are also finding that more consumers are placing greater importance on a company’s environmental sustainability practices. A Futerra survey indicated that customers in the West look to companies to help them be more sustainable. In Asia, evidence suggests that customers may be ready to pay more for sustainable products. It’s clear that regardless of the product or service, SMEs must be more proactive in considering the environmental impact of their business to meet customer expectations. Selecting technologies for a sustainable business A PWC survey of over 100 CEOs in the Philippines noted that 83 percent have adopted sustainable business practices including energy efficiency and recycling practices, but 44 percent of these leaders are only concerned about the financial impact of these initiatives rather than other more holistic measures. More needs to be done by all companies to evaluate and improve the environmental impact of every aspect of their business, so that these efforts do more than pay lip service. In 2016, the country recorded 114.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and in order to reduce those numbers, the public and private sectors need to work together. Companies that are unable to meet customers’ demands for products that are sustainably sourced - or demonstrate its sustainability practices across the supply chain – may start to lose out in the competition for customers. From the perspective of technology, as companies in Southeast Asia proceed with digital transformation initiatives to modernise their business, the environmental impact can serve as another contribution to the business goals of the transformation project.
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