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Sustainbility & AI

 21st Jun 2024

W&A sat down with Pawprint founder Christian Arno to get his thoughts about the two megatrends of our age, sustainability and AI.

Both are complex, and both offer ample threat and opportunity. At Pawprint, the employee sustainability platform, we see how companies are approaching sustainability day in, and day out. I thought I’d share a few observations:

  1. Sustainability is not going away
  2. Most companies - and their employees - are uncomfortable with their progress
  3. It’s complicated
  4. Employees matter in all this
  5. Technology including AI is here to help

To expand on these points, as FT Editor Gillian Tett opined earlier this year, “in the green audit world the tale is of a regulatory “squeeze to the top” now: as reforms are unleashed in one jurisdiction, they are spreading to other regions in surprising ways, threatening to hit unwary companies.” Regulation is driving larger, regulated businesses globally (including in the US) to take sustainability seriously; and given that their suppliers and employees *are* their scope 3 emissions, more businesses and their own stakeholders are acting. There’s a ripple effect that we are surely all feeling, albeit to different drumbeats and in different ways.

While companies are almost all making progress, there is resistance - because business as usual isn’t used to sustainability being fundamental, so businesses aren’t driven with sustainability in mind. The whole challenge is complicated because it’s unclear how far businesses should go in the compromise between true sustainability and other pressures - not least how to deal with rising costs.

I see people, and employees specifically, as an untapped source of answers - in particular those (often younger) employees who really care about sustainability and are ever more vocal about their determination to work for a business that takes its long term contribution to humanity seriously. We’ve seen tremendous results where companies embrace these champions and use their enthusiasm to unite the wider workforce behind business and sustainability goals. And - to come back to technology and AI - where they use technology to learn within and between businesses, to share challenges and successes, and generally to show all stakeholders that it is possible to accelerate progress when people come together in the right way.

I believe there’s a strong correlation between long-termism generally in business and progressiveness when it comes to sustainability, and other topics, such as employee wellbeing. It’s no coincidence that some of the best businesses are leading both on sustainability and, for example, being recognised as the best companies to work for. I think the question for finance professionals may be: 

How can we use current and future regulation - for example the recently introduced anti-greenwashing regulations - as prompts for business cases to support us remaining - or becoming - top quartile sustainability-minded businesses in our space? All the evidence would indicate an approach like this will lead to outperformance in more traditional terms over the long term.

Christian Arno

Founder/CEO @ Pawprint

To find out more about how Pawprint can help your business meet its sustainability goals using technology get in touch here.


Gillian Tett - Green Audits Are Coming for a Company Near You -

FCA Anti-Greenwashing guidance:


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