Limited data access, poor organization management and skill gaps are main hurdles to achieving sustainability goals: Hitachi Vantara Study  


Organizations are increasingly prioritizing sustainability, with 8 out of 10 companies globally stating that they have established ambitious goals to reduce emissions according to a new survey from Hitachi Vantara, the modern infrastructure, data management and digital solutions subsidiary of Hitachi. However, despite this and the fact that 73% of Indian businesses claim to be “on plan” or “ahead of plan” in terms of carbon reduction goals, the survey revealed that actual progress may not be as robust as many believe.

The survey sought to shed light on the importance of sustainability for organizations today, and the steps being taken to address today’s data sustainability challenges. Key findings from the Indian market include:

  • 40% of the Indian organisations said they lacked a sustainability strategy and implementation plan.
  • The timing for achieving their goals is still decades away; on average, Indian organizations do not expect to be at net zero carbon emissions until 2054, 31 years from now. The biggest challenge cited was keeping up with regulations around sustainable data practices (49%), however, 42% also noted that they had inadequate access to critical sustainability data.
  • 58% of the Indian organisations said that their data center footprint had not changed at all in the past two years. In looking ahead two years, 27% expect the carbon footprint of their data center to stay the same and only 1% expects it to increase by 21-30%.

“Ethical obligation to reduce carbon emissions is and will continue to be a major driver of sustainability goals among Indian firms,” said Hemant Tiwari, Managing Director- India, Hitachi Vantara. “While sustainability is definitely growing as a priority focus for most businesses, it is evident that organizations are struggling to put together a concrete roadmap or strategy that will help them meet their goals. At Hitachi Vantara, we believe that the use of data and right technology platforms are paramount in achieving sustainability goals. By becoming data-driven, businesses can drive their sustainability transformation and build competitive advantage.”

The Critical Role of the Data Center in Reducing Emissions

44% of Indian businesses believe that they would fail to achieve overall sustainability goals if their data center is not decarbonized. However, the critical role of decarbonized data centers is not just limited to this. 45% of Indian organizations believe that this would eventually lead to increased costs and 30% believe they will have difficulty in attracting IT talent. Despite the lack of progress in reducing the data center footprint, 34% of these respondents said that creating an eco-friendly data center was a top priority for the organization, and when asked what steps they had taken already to reduce their carbon footprint, data center decarbonization was one of the common responses that emerged (37%).

However, across the surveyed countries, data center decarbonization was also most commonly cited as the area where firms need outside assistance, with 39% saying they needed third-party help. A similar percentage (37%) need help in using the latest technology solutions to reduce their carbon footprint and 38% stated that they had created a corporate culture to support sustainability goals. Part of the problem appears to be that executives across the C-Suite are not fully aware of the importance of data center modernization to achieve their overall sustainability goals. CEOs and CIOs appear better informed, with 43% of CEOs and 41% of CIOs saying that an eco-friendly data center is one of the most effective ways to reduce their company’s carbon footprint; however, only 22% of CFOs and 25% of Chief Sustainability Officers agreed.

A Closer Look at Keys to Sustainability Success

Survey respondents were designated as being leaders, advanced, early implementers, or beginners in terms of their eco-friendly data maturity based on their progress against eight key markers of sustainability measurement.

Out of the total respondents globally:

  • 68% of leaders compared to 53% of others assign high or very high importance to reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption in their organizations.
  • 27% of leaders are ahead of their carbon reduction plans compared to 19% of others.
  • 51% of leaders see an eco-friendly data center as one of the best ways to decarbonize
  • Leaders plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2036 and net zero by 2047, several years ahead of others.

Breakdown of Survey Respondents

Commissioned by Hitachi Vantara, ThoughtLab Research interviewed 1,000 respondents globally, including 100 in India, across a range of industries including financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, and public sector.

The rest of the respondents were divided among Canada as well as the U.S., UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Nordics in Europe; and China, and Australia in Asia Pacific. Nearly all of the respondents (96%) are from companies with 1,000 or more employees.


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