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Bots could help businesses polish up their green credentials

Metrics are a key aspect of a sound sustainability strategy and Oracle believes automation can help businesses achieve their environmental goals

A study from Oracle, based on a survey conducted by Savanta, has found that business leaders regard bots as a way to help their organisations meet sustainability goals.

The survey of 11,005 respondents from 15 countries explored the attitudes and behaviours of consumers and business leaders towards sustainability and social efforts, along with the role and expectations of artificial intelligence (AI) and bots in environmental, societal and governance (ESG) efforts.

Introducing the Oracle study, Juergen Lindner, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, global marketing SaaS, at Oracle, said: “Pressure for results is high, careers are short, environmental and social factors are divisive, and it’s human nature to focus on what you can control. But what if this wasn’t down to human nature? What if managing the intersection of sustainability and business performance wasn’t another problem for executives to tackle? What role should people and machines play in managing factors that not only impact the business, but the health of society and our planet?”

Oracle’s research, which was run in partnership with Pamela Rucker, CIO advisor and instructor for Harvard Professional Development, found that almost all business leaders (88%) expected organisations that use technology to help drive sustainability and social issues to be the ones to succeed in the long run.

The majority of business leaders (94%) said they need to use technology now to support ESG initiatives. Their top priorities include verifying data (48%), automatically collecting data from different areas (47%), planning and revising targets based on performance (44%), and automating reports and analysis (44%).

Looking into the role of bots in ESG, Oracle’s research showed that 43% of the business leaders surveyed believed bots were better at collecting data without error, 42% said bots were better at making unbiased decisions and 41% believed bots were better at predicting future outcomes. The survey also found that 93% of business leaders would trust a bot over a human to make sustainability and social decisions.

But the survey respondents also saw humans as having an important role, since people are better than bots at enacting changes needed and making strategic decisions. In particular, they said humans were still needed for implementing change based on feedback (48%), educating others on the context needed to make decisions (46%), making context-informed strategic decisions (42%), and pivoting in the face of change (35%).

Oracle said the global upheaval caused by the pandemic over the past two years had accelerated people’s desire for immediate action on sustainability and social issues. According to Oracle, managing ESG factors often takes a back seat to traditional business metrics, but the research showed that people believe bots can succeed where humans have failed to address sustainability issues. 

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