Digital transformation can serve all, but not in its current form. Individuals and wider society are looking to business to set a precedent for what it means to be a responsible, sustainable business, in a world transformed by digital. To remain competitive, companies must address these consequences head on, engendering trust across all stakeholder groups.

It’s no coincidence that 6 out of 10 CEOs name business growth as their #1 priority. WHY? Because new business growth no longer happens without digital technologies.

Impact is a choice

While companies are employing digital technologies to create new revenue streams and improve efficiency, they often fail to think through the unintended consequences of such technologies—the flip side. These consequences are becoming increasingly clear, from cyber-attacks to environmental concerns. But, when company leaders make a conscious choice to proactively address their digital impact, they can reap both progress and positive consumer/citizen reaction.

59%

of CEOs report that their company can accurately quantify the business value of their sustainability initiatives.

63%

of consumers refuse to buy products and services from companies they do not trust.

A company’s competitiveness is now heavily linked to how well it addresses its digital flip side. But, a growing number of businesses recognize current consumer and citizen sentiment is less than a ringing endorsement of their progress. Successful leaders will balance transparency, privacy and intellectual property to leverage trust as a competitive advantage. It means having a plan in place to mitigate negative consequences.

Anatomy of digitally responsible business: Steps from Trusted Company to license to grow and innovate. 1. Workforce: Embrace the changing nature of the work. 2. Value chain: Drive a transparent inclusive and productive value chain. 3. Products & services: Deliver innovative products and services that serve society. 4. Customers: Protect, support and empower customers -especially in how their data is used.

First steps to faultless flip side

To reap the full value from digital responsibility, company leaders need to appropriately guide action and investment. Where do they start?

  • Build trust with consumers
  • Look out for your workforce
  • Foster partnerships for the common good
  • Improve your footprint

Those that anticipate and address the flip side early have the potential to earn trust across stakeholder groups, translating that trust into responsible profits and growth for the digital age.



Justin Keeble

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Sustainability ​


Jessica Long

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Sustainability


Philipp Buddemeier

Principal Director – Accenture Strategy, Sustainability

Gemma Baker

Contributor


Ana Paula Mundim

Contributor

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