Major UK retailers are beginning to view ESG technology as a route to enhanced profitability and improved compliance. How they respond to the challenges posed within the retail industry is critical to how their customers view—and shop with—them in a competitive market.
The challenges that retail CIOs face are:
#1 Limited technologies and frameworks to foster ESG compliance
Retailers often don't have access to the modern technologies that enable the measurement and reporting of ESG factors. This means that they're not keeping pace with the AI and ML technologies that can be used to drive sustainability, traceability and profitability across the supply chain.
#2 Adapting to the demands of evolving ESG regulation
Legacy systems with disparate data prevent retailers from meeting mandatory reporting standards. In October 2022 the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published their paper, "Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDR) and Investment labels" where they state that these proposals "are a starting point for a regime that we will expand and evolve over time." Retail CIOs need systems that enable them to quickly adapt in anticipation of evolving requirements, instead of being reactive.
#3 Fragmented data systems limit supply chain visibility
Supply chain management is the most important initiative for retailers and lack of traceability is no longer a valid excuse for limited reporting. But, spreadsheets, disparate solutions and limited reporting capabilities mean that retail CIOs are unable to monitor and deliver on the ESG KPIs that stakeholders and consumers expect.
ESG has to be built into the technology strategies of retailers considering how to benefit from the opportunities that ESG provides while also keeping up with consumer and stakeholder expectations.
The Case for ESG Data Capture
Retailers are struggling to make ESG data visible so that they can address problems quickly. Treating technology and consultancy frameworks as a pathway to increased transparency and sustainability provides a reliable approach for retailers looking to improve their ESG.
Here are the three key ways that retail CIOs can benefit from combining technology and consulting to connect ESG data sources:
1. Improved financial performance
Retailers that invest in data visibility will be able to identify cost-saving opportunities. For example, lowering energy usage reducing waste from order duplications and calculating rebates. Also, as retail supply chains are most likely to be vulnerable to compliance risks, traceability will reduce the burden of fines or penalties.
2. Common measurements across the value chain
Because software solutions can connect supplier energy use with your business goals, this helps to establish core metrics that are shared across the value chain. Then retailers can use measurement to drive reduced energy consumption across their supply chain.
3. Improved customer loyalty and retention
Retailers that have transparent ESG reporting and measurements can accurately communicate their efforts to customers. This will help to attract and retain socially conscious consumers in a competitive market.
Retail CIOs remain hesitant to invest in new capabilities because of the need to prioritise short-term profitability and cash flow over future growth. However, retailers have a chance to differentiate their operational performance and quickly address customer issues with:
- Cloud optimization
- Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)
- Supply chain consulting for a bespoke software solution
- Asset monitoring
Mastek enables retailers to drive forward their sustainability strategy by identifying technologies that will provide visibility, transparency and real-time data. Our strategy combines consultancy with technology solutions to create a digital roadmap for improved ESG outcomes.