Business and the Fourth Wave of environmentalism

Tech: the competitive edge for business and sustainability

Business and the Fourth Wave of Environmentalism shines a spotlight on how 600 executives are using emerging technology to help business and the planet prosper together.

Second-year trends show that business leaders are increasingly familiar with emerging technologies and are weaving sustainability goals more deeply into business strategy. Yet a majority aren’t fully connecting the dots between how the innovative technologies they use to run their companies can also be their best solutions for more meaningful sustainability.

What do we mean by ‘Fourth Wave’?

The Fourth Wave refers to a powerful new era of environmentalism that uses cutting-edge technologies to supercharge the work of previous waves. The environmental movement has evolved from land conservation, to policymaking, to market-based solutions. Now business leaders have technological innovations at hand to accelerate sustainability efforts while also driving revenue growth. This report examines businesses’ progress with the Fourth Wave and where they can boost their efforts.

Business leaders are feeling the heat

Stakeholder pressure is rising. 93% of executives surveyed believe that consumers will hold businesses accountable for their environmental impact. Following closely behind are investors and shareholders (85%), employees (85%) and regulators (84%).

Lagging investment means there’s an opportunity gap

92% of business leaders believe that emerging tech can boost both ROI and sustainability. Yet only 59% of those leaders are actually investing in tech for this purpose. By industry, only manufacturing is matching their technology investments to their sustainability commitments.  

As the climate crisis collides with our fast-paced, technology-driven world, business leaders have more responsibility than ever before to shape the future of our planet. While putting artificial intelligence, data analytics, robotics and other innovations into practice to stay competitive, businesses must also put those technologies to work to drive greater sustainability.

See how executives are using Fourth Wave innovations to boost sustainability and the bottom line.