News: The five roadblocks to Australia’s sustainability goals: Microsoft Study

Strategic HR

The five roadblocks to Australia’s sustainability goals: Microsoft Study

More than two-thirds of Australian businesses (68%) have set environmental targets but remain weak at execution and measurement, found the latest Microsoft study.
The five roadblocks to Australia’s sustainability goals: Microsoft Study

As talent today increasingly expects organisations to be socially and environmentally responsible, failure to comply is costing the latter to lose out their attractiveness as an employer.

According to Microsoft’s ‘Accelerating the Journey to Net Zero’ report, more than a third (34%) of Australian organisations are expected to miss their 2050 net-zero targets. With 60% of employees stating sustainability strategies make an employer more attractive, these companies are slated for a turbulent time with talent in times to come.

The numbers are particularly worrisome because they persist despite an acceptance and even strong desire among Australian organisations for a more sustainable future. 

Reportedly, one in ten (10%) Australian businesses either haven’t set environmental targets or are making exceptionally poor progress towards their targets. Just a few over one in five (22%) Australian businesses are both setting and achieving and, in some cases, exceeding their sustainability goals. Most Australian businesses (68%) lie in the area where they have set environmental targets but have been weak at execution and measurement.

“Australian organisations are on board, but off track,” said Microsoft ANZ Sustainability Director, Brett Shoemaker. “Pledges and commitments are a critical first step. But the more significant, long-term impact will come from our ability to overcome the challenges and obstacles that will inevitably arise as we act on those commitments.”

Shedding light on the challenges business leaders face in setting and accomplishing their sustainability goals, the study highlighted skills, leadership, mindset, government support and technology as the key roadblocks.

  • 40% of business leaders do not have the in-house expertise and skills to support their sustainability strategies
  • 38% lack a clear organisational strategy for sustainability
  • 36% struggle to shift organisational culture and embed sustainable thinking.
  • 32% cite not having clear government guidance for action as a challenge, but the report points to the need for whole systems thinking, including collaboration between government, commerce, academia, and NGOs to collectively address barriers to net zero
  • 53% have difficulty accessing the technology they need to support their sustainability initiatives

As employers rethink engagement strategy and employer branding to beat the talent crunch, delivering on ESG commitments will be key. With a more socially and environmentally aware and conscious working population, how leaders achieve their sustainability goals will be crucial to the business as well as talent outlook.

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Topics: Strategic HR

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