An enterprise architecture approach to ESG

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) problems are a incredibly hot topic in boardrooms these days. 

It is no surprise. Entire world-altering studies on the state of local weather modify are sent with alarming regularity. Range and social inclusion misalignment, along with lax environmental values, are accelerating ‘the good resignation’. And acquiring the firm’s response completely wrong to these difficulties can have detrimental results on a brand’s image and name. 

In lots of respects, addressing ESG concerns is a no-brainer for organisations. There is a collective social want for a extra eco-friendly and socially sustainable method to financial growth. Introducing to that by now crucial target, there is a developing entire body of evidence recognising the job performed by ESG values in driving employee worth propositions, fiscal effectiveness, prosperity, sustainability and in attracting investment decision.1,2,3

Transforming an organisation to provide on ESG aims, instead than established-and-forget or ‘greenwashing’ them,* even so, calls for an helpful and economical solution, not to point out strategic nous and the capability to execute. A attempted and tested methodology that can assist execute ESG plans and carry their execution straight to the CIO’s doorway is enterprise architecture.

Business architecture for ESG

The term ‘enterprise architecture’ or ‘EA’ refers to a set of frameworks, methodologies and instruments that can support an organisation map their company technique to their procedures, information belongings, ICT methods and technological innovation.4 Its worth lies in its ability to offer essential organisational insights, guaranteeing coherence involving organization plans and the supporting small business functions and technologies services wanted to achieve them. 

By being familiar with the underlying factors of a company – their inter-relationships, value-chains, alignment and abilities –  business architecture discovers and identifies misalignment in between aims, ways and system, and is a excellent starting off position for applying business enterprise method by means of digital transformation.5

This signifies that company architecture frameworks are effectively positioned to support organisations in examining their existing ESG place, informing the prioritisation of digitally-enabled or evaluated ESG initiatives, and developing the tactical roadmap to get to an ESG eyesight.

Also, examined and demonstrated EA methodologies and procedures will help mitigate connected pitfalls that result from methods that deficiency the maturity desired to be certain alignment to organisational imperatives.

How to get begun

Whether or not you want to satisfy Greenhouse Gasoline (GHG) emissions targets or ensure good trade sourcing in offer chains,  there will likely be essential alterations to numerous factors of your company processes, supporting facts units, persons and/or know-how. 

To be successful on this transformation journey, an business architecture strategy delivers an array of resources. For example, heatmaps (charts that visualise which business functions, software systems, or technology factors are affiliated with a specific performance evaluate) can help in selecting priority locations to deal with when benefit chain mapping can present perception into the ESG impact of conclusions relating to provide chains.  

To commence, get to seriously know your latest state by viewing your ESG ambitions by way of the a variety of EA levels, or lenses, and then use this perception to map out what you will need to do to attain your sought after foreseeable future state.


  • Small business – Whether it’s organisational HR insurance policies, a internet marketing strategy or your procurement community, numerous organisational procedures and capabilities will need to be assessed for their capacity to meet up with ESG plans. Take procurement for case in point, how do your suppliers’ ESG profiles match with your ESG targets? Do you have to have to redesign your source chain?  Should you assess your local community and social effect when adopting a new enterprise model?


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  • Information systems – Will your details methods support the previously mentioned business enterprise procedure alterations? A critical factor of attaining any ESG objective will be the data that your enterprise is accumulating and generating. Your strategies and targets will dictate the information you have to have to measure and regulate, but at the exact time, the details you previously have (or do not have) can tell the objectives set in the first position. For illustration, do you have knowledge on your recycling tactics, the emissions becoming generated by your offer partners or the share of good-trade sourcing in your offer chains? Can you evaluate the environmental footprint of your transport fleet?  And do you have the techniques to seize and/or generate this info?


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  • Know-how – Your organisation’s computing electricity, storage and telecommunications have to have to be able to assist the over data methods and small business abilities. Are the technologies at the moment in place suitable to operate the new systems you will need to have? Mapping your technological know-how infrastructure will also assistance immediately detect certain ESG ICT targets this sort of as transitioning to low carbon footprint knowledge centres, optimising the use of your infrastructure, or reimagining the achievable data and laptop processing tradeoffs that get you to your lower-emissions aim.


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EA frameworks allow for organisations to go from eyesight to implementation across all organisational amounts and regions, and then to circle again for continual refinements and advancements. A small business with experienced business architecture practices will also be greater put to respond to the evolving ESG landscape.

From alignment to transformation

Normally, and especially when appeared at via a holistic company architecture strategy, accomplishing or reporting on certain ESG goals (or seizing on progressive new prospects that ESG provides about) will not be achievable through isolated tech variations, but in actuality, have to have a extra holistic electronic transformation. (You may have already absent by way of this in your COVID-19 pandemic reaction, but did you aspect ESG in when you did?)

An EA-supported ESG assessment will give an accurate see of the prices and gains of an organisation’s overall IT portfolio. Architecture lenses will then help to make the selections vital for ESG-associated electronic investment and/or transformation.

For case in point, the significant electrical power footprint of business enterprise IT systems is turning out to be an expanding focus of ESG concern.6,7 As a consequence, organisations are feeling substantial tension to go to ‘clean-IT,’ optimising the trade-off involving power use and computational efficiency, and incorporating algorithmic and computational efficiencies in IT alternatives and models. 

Conference ESG upcoming states will very likely need digitalisation and emerging systems these types of as IoT, electronic twins, big facts, and AI. Many apps are previously obtainable in the current market to aid sustainability management and ESG reporting, together with PwC’s ESG Pulse. There is also growing recognition within just the business enterprise entire world of the worth of integrating ESG into organization resource setting up (ERP) systems as compliance and reporting requirements build.8  

Preventing code purple

Organisations need to have to embrace ESG for their lengthy-expression prosperity. But to acquire benefit of ESG prospects and certainly make a big difference (not to point out complying with long term reporting and regulation prerequisites)9 organisations have to have to embed ESG plans into their small business, information and engineering. 

EA provides properly-established and confirmed practices/frameworks to help strategic and aligned ESG transformations. The tactic can be instrumental to cascading an ESG eyesight during the organisation, guaranteeing it is strategically embedded.

With an evolving ESG landscape, organisations ought to be equipped to answer and adapt to changing requirements with agility and self confidence. A mature organization architecture technique can be the differentiating enabler to competitive gain – and to ensuring your organisation assists attain a additional sustainable modern society.