How retail and CPG companies drive sustainability strategy with technology – Part 1

Retailers and CPG brands are feeling the pressure from regulatory bodies and consumers alike for more sustainable practices. A survey found that 47% of US Gen Z consumers stopped purchasing their favorite brand after discovering it was not eco-friendly. Over a third of Forbes 2000 companies across retail, manufacturing, as well as food, beverage, and agriculture sectors have net-zero targets. In response, retailers and consumer goods companies are taking intentional steps to set and work toward ambitious sustainability goals.

In collaboration with Incisiv, an industry insights firm, Amazon Web Services (AWS) set out to understand how consumer goods and retail leaders are thinking about technology as it relates to their sustainability strategy. We interviewed more than 300 leaders across the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and India to understand different perspectives related to technology usage to drive progress toward sustainability goals. We also investigated how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are being used in this effort. Here are three key insights from the report:

1. There is a gap between the intent and execution of technology usage and analytics to improve sustainability. 73% of respondents agree it is impossible to meet their sustainability goals without using technology, while only 21% agree that they are effective in using technology to support their sustainability strategy.

Juggling multiple stakeholders (and their competing priorities) is the number one challenge in incorporating technology into a sustainability strategy. At the core of this challenge is the fact that sustainability doesn’t just apply to any one team—it spans the enterprise. Coordinating consensus, prioritization, ownership, funding, and more is an ongoing challenge.