An enterprise architecture approach to ESG


Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) concerns are a warm subject in boardrooms these times. 

It is no surprise. Planet-altering studies on the condition of local climate modify are sent with alarming regularity. Variety and social inclusion misalignment, alongside lax environmental values, are accelerating ‘the excellent resignation’. And finding the firm’s response incorrect to these issues can have detrimental outcomes on a brand’s graphic and reputation. 

In quite a few respects, addressing ESG concerns is a no-brainer for organisations. There is a collective social have to have for a much more eco-friendly and socially sustainable solution to financial improvement. Introducing to that presently significant target, there is a developing body of proof recognising the role performed by ESG values in driving personnel benefit propositions, money effectiveness, prosperity, sustainability and in attracting expense.1,2,3

Reworking an organisation to produce on ESG goals, alternatively than set-and-ignore or ‘greenwashing’ them,* nevertheless, calls for an helpful and effective strategy, not to mention strategic nous and the capability to execute. A attempted and analyzed methodology that can aid execute ESG ambitions and bring their execution straight to the CIO’s doorway is business architecture.

Business architecture for ESG

The phrase ‘enterprise architecture’ or ‘EA’ refers to a set of frameworks, methodologies and resources that can assistance an organisation map their company technique to their processes, knowledge belongings, ICT devices and technological innovation.4 Its worth lies in its potential to offer important organisational insights, making sure coherence in between business enterprise targets and the supporting small business functions and technological innovation solutions necessary to accomplish them. 

By knowledge the underlying parts of a company – their inter-relationships, price-chains, alignment and abilities –  company architecture discovers and identifies misalignment among targets, techniques and strategy, and is a wonderful beginning point for applying business enterprise strategy by way of digital transformation.5

This means that company architecture frameworks are nicely positioned to aid organisations in examining their recent ESG position, informing the prioritisation of digitally-enabled or evaluated ESG initiatives, and establishing the tactical roadmap to access an ESG eyesight.

Furthermore, examined and proven EA methodologies and methods will assist mitigate related threats that outcome from approaches that absence the maturity desired to make certain alignment to organisational imperatives.

How to get started

Regardless of whether you want to fulfill Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions targets or assure reasonable trade sourcing in provide chains,  there will probably be demanded adjustments to a number of factors of your enterprise procedures, supporting data systems, people and/or technologies. 

To triumph on this transformation journey, an organization architecture solution gives an array of equipment. For case in point, heatmaps (charts that visualise which small business functions, software methods, or know-how elements are linked with a specific efficiency evaluate) can guide in selecting precedence areas to deal with whilst value chain mapping can give perception into the ESG effects of selections with regards to provide chains.  

To commence, get to seriously know your existing point out by viewing your ESG targets by means of the many EA levels, or lenses, and then use this insight to map out what you have to have to do to access your preferred long term state.

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  • Business – No matter whether it is organisational HR policies, a advertising and marketing strategy or your procurement network, numerous organisational processes and capabilities need to be assessed for their potential to satisfy ESG targets. Just take procurement for instance, how do your suppliers’ ESG profiles match with your ESG ambitions? Do you need to redesign your source chain?  Must you assess your group and social impact when adopting a new enterprise model?

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  • Data units – Will your information units aid the previously mentioned business enterprise approach alterations? A critical element of attaining any ESG goal will be the details that your small business is gathering and building. Your procedures and targets will dictate the info you require to measure and deal with, but at the exact time, the knowledge you already have (or don’t have) can tell the objectives set in the 1st position. For instance, do you have information on your recycling tactics, the emissions currently being manufactured by your supply companions or the proportion of fair-trade sourcing in your offer chains? Can you consider the environmental footprint of your transportation fleet?  And do you have the systems to seize and/or make this details?

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  • Know-how – Your organisation’s computing electric power, storage and telecommunications need to have to be ready to help the higher than facts systems and business enterprise capabilities. Are the systems currently in place satisfactory to run the new systems you will want? Mapping your engineering infrastructure will also enable immediately recognize unique ESG ICT targets these types of as transitioning to very low carbon footprint information centres, optimising the use of your infrastructure, or reimagining the achievable information and personal computer processing tradeoffs that get you to your lessen-emissions aim.

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EA frameworks permit organisations to go from eyesight to implementation throughout all organisational levels and areas, and then to circle back for continuous refinements and enhancements. A business enterprise with experienced company architecture procedures will also be much better placed to respond to the evolving ESG landscape.

From alignment to transformation

Frequently, and primarily when looked at by means of a holistic organization architecture technique, accomplishing or reporting on particular ESG goals (or seizing on impressive new options that ESG provides about) will not be attainable by way of isolated tech adjustments, but in actuality, have to have a more holistic digital transformation. (You might have now long gone by this in your COVID-19 pandemic response, but did you issue ESG in when you did?)

An EA-supported ESG assessment will give an exact check out of the expenditures and benefits of an organisation’s general IT portfolio. Architecture lenses will then help to make the decisions essential for ESG-linked electronic financial commitment and/or transformation.

For case in point, the superior electricity footprint of business enterprise IT units is starting to be an escalating focus of ESG problem.6,7 As a consequence, organisations are feeling major tension to transfer to ‘clean-IT,’ optimising the trade-off involving vitality consumption and computational performance, and incorporating algorithmic and computational efficiencies in IT alternatives and models. 

Conference ESG long term states will probably demand digitalisation and rising technologies such as IoT, electronic twins, huge information, and AI. Numerous applications are already readily available in the marketplace to assistance sustainability administration and ESG reporting, which includes PwC’s ESG Pulse. There’s also growing recognition inside of the business enterprise globe of the value of integrating ESG into business useful resource preparing (ERP) programs as compliance and reporting specifications build.8  

Avoiding code purple

Organisations require to embrace ESG for their long-expression prosperity. But to acquire edge of ESG options and actually make a big difference (not to point out complying with upcoming reporting and regulation necessities)9 organisations require to embed ESG plans into their company, info and engineering. 

EA presents nicely-founded and verified techniques/frameworks to allow strategic and aligned ESG transformations. The tactic can be instrumental to cascading an ESG eyesight in the course of the organisation, making sure it is strategically embedded.

With an evolving ESG landscape, organisations should be ready to respond and adapt to modifying demands with agility and self-confidence. A mature business architecture approach can be the differentiating enabler to aggressive advantage – and to guaranteeing your organisation assists obtain a a lot more sustainable modern society.



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