SustainabilityOctober 21, 2021

How can we kick sustainable innovation into gear?

Today’s companies face a dual challenge: engage in constant innovation to respond…
Avatar Alyssa Ross

Today’s companies face a dual challenge: engage in constant innovation to respond to disruptive global and domestic markets, while also dealing with constantly-evolving sustainability standards that could impact their business activities. Many companies know that sustainable innovation – the practice of environmentally and socially positive products and services and the use of sustainable processes within R&D – could help them embrace this challenge. But are companies putting that understanding into action?

To answer this, FT Focus just released a report called MORE PRAISED THAN PRACTISED: Sustainable innovation needs more businesses on board. Dassault Systèmes was a proud supporter of this research, in which 300 corporate leaders worldwide were surveyed.

Unfortunately, one of the key takeaways is that sustainable innovation ideas are still not widely embraced meaning there’s been little progress. The good news: 56% of those surveyed understand the importance of integrating sustainability principles into product and service development. The not-so-good: only 36% have a plan to take action.

The survey examined why this gap exists between vision and execution. The data showed that the commitment to sustainable innovation is often constrained because of silos within companies – notably across R&D and strategy, IT and sustainability functions.  This suggests that progress will be slow.

In addition to a wealth of statistics, the paper includes with two specific lessons from leaders who are making sustainable innovation a priority, along with a case study on how Nestlé’s new plant-based, carbon-neutral milk alternative is a product helping the company move towards its 2050 net zero sustainability pledge.

We were excited to work with FT Focus on this report as it provided us quantitative insights to add to the findings from the Accenture whitepaper released earlier this year. Designing Disruption: The Critical Role of Virtual Twins in Accelerating Sustainability helps to advance the understanding of how virtual twins can help meet the world’s sustainability goals. It explores use cases from five industries that project virtual twin can unlock more than 7.5Gt of CO2e emissions reductions through 2030 and US$1.3 trillion of economic value. It also looks at how value chains must evolve and that incremental, continuous improvement in productivity, resource use, emissions and waste reduction are critically needed. But these efforts alone won’t address the climate crisis; that requires a fundamental transformation of underlying systems and processes. The FT Focus study helps us understand where companies are at in making the necessary changes.

Download this paper to discover more about how virtual twin technologies can deliver significant sustainable innovation at scale in order to achieve the UN SDGs and redesign the global economy to be more circular and low carbon.

Learn more on our dedicated page and access the free report now

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