The most-used tech for business and sustainability

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See how advanced tech boosts sustainability along with the bottom line.

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See how 600 c-suite executives are using emerging technology to help business and the planet prosper together.

Here are the key tech-focused highlights from the second annual Business and the Fourth Wave of Environmentalism report [PDF].

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When business leaders were asked which emerging technologies they were investing in for both revenue and sustainability goals, AI, automation and robotics led the list. Explore the tabs below to learn more by sector.

Total

Retail

Manufacturing

Energy

Tech

Finance

Technologies that leaders are investing in for both revenue and sustainability.

The least adopted technologies were blockchain and sensors — still important areas where leaders can gain a competitive advantage, especially if blockchain increases clean energy use or is powered by renewable energy.

On the bleeding edge, Microsoft plans to leapfrog competitors by removing more carbon from the air than they produce by 2030, a promise backed by a $1 billion investment in developing carbon removal technologies.

The environmental impact of advanced tech

Business leaders are increasingly confident that technological advances are having a positive effect on the way businesses impact the environment, with data analytics, automation, AI and sensors showing the most promise.

Total

Retail

Manufacturing

Energy

Tech

Finance

Share of business leaders who see environmental benefits of these innovations.

Investment lags, creating an opportunity gap

But despite an overwhelming belief that emerging tech can boost both ROI and sustainability, only 59% of leaders are actually investing in tech for this purpose, with retail, finance and manufacturing furthest behind.

What business leaders believe (left) and their actual investment (right).

This 33-point gap represents a critical opportunity for companies to deliver on their sustainability commitments and lead on climate — potentially winning over consumers and investors. To learn more, download the full report.

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Environmental Defense Fund commissioned KRC Research to survey 600 business leaders at the CEO, VP/SVP and director levels, at companies with $500 million to $5 billion in revenue. The sample was balanced across five industries: retail, manufacturing, energy, technology and finance.

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