Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and VR seem to be in two worlds – one behind a screen and one on the ground. However, the two coincide because VR can help businesses meet ESG goals. Leveraging this technology allows companies to more fully visualize the scope of their influence, potentially increasing drive and financial investments in projects.
Increasing Compassion and Empathy
Companies don’t engage with ESG primarily because the results are intangible. Carbon footprints are invisible and hard to conceptualize investing thousands of dollars into when it isn’t sure to increase bottom lines. Using VR forces companies to engage with the reality of the climate crisis and social injustices, activating more senses than mere imagination.
Humans feel more attached to an issue if they have experience connected to the subject matter. Seeing these adverse global influences in an immersive environment saves companies money from traveling and using resources to develop that empathy. Firsthand opportunities would bolster anyone’s drive to reduce negative impact and bring more of what ESG frameworks could promise to an organization.
VR provides a unique chance for companies to embody situations, regardless of their background. They can be present in the scenario, influencing the problem, and seeing how people and stories they would otherwise be dissociated from interact with obstacles. Companies could see how victims of hurricanes are influenced by climate change rallies for emergency funding, or workforce lobbies for labor rights and safety standards.
Visualizing an Impossible Future
A study from the University of California, Davis explains how the boiling-frog effect manifests with climate change — humans normalize questionable behavior when it happens gradually over time. Sectors worldwide could see this in a medley of ESG-related subject areas like degrading data privacy standards or gradual acts of discrimination in workplaces attempting to achieve diversity.
Humans meet a challenge when attempting to imagine the year 2100 or 100. Going too far in the future or past is beyond comprehension for many, especially now when technology advances at a pace where changes will be more drastic in shorter time frames. But, it’s vital to adopt new, virtual technology as quickly as possible to serve companies and teach them how to navigate their businesses in a modern world.
It can help companies imagine the future in their region and see how not embracing ESG could change nations worldwide, making the perspective more comprehensive. When VR environments can sometimes make people forget they are in a fabricated environment, it could feel as natural as experiencing that imagined future now.
Implementing Process Discovery
Now that companies feel pulled to make a change and can accurately visualize it based on the world’s data, they must act. ESG is about proof, and VR helps companies by showing them the proper and effective ways to execute their goals. For example, VR could help a manufacturer debating on getting more eco-conscious, innovative machinery to see if it operates to standard and is worth the investment. Therefore, companies won’t get discouraged committing to ESG when hefty financial aspirations don’t deliver.
The reason this is so important is that it also helps businesses. Over 95% of S&P 500 companies made ESG-related policies, and none want to fail and receive lousy press. Companies that use VR to see what does and doesn’t work can share successes and findings across sectors, making valuable knowledge more accessible. Leveraging VR will normalize information-sharing instead of traditional behaviors of keeping productive, profitable technologies within company secrets to stifle competition.
Seeing operational changes through VR eyes can make businesses see how much waste they produce, how their staff interacts, and how their financial decisions trickle down to the workforce. Though committing to ESG proves to help company profits, it can help a necessary cultural shift that the world can’t afford to have businesses withhold.
Seeing ESG Firsthand
Nothing will make ESG more applicable to companies than VR. Regardless of sector, companies could use it to become better observers of the planet, whether through the lens of climate change or how to manage executive leadership justly. Wider adoption of these technologies will increase investments to continue their advancement, making them even more helpful to companies achieving their ESG goals.
April Miller is a senior writer at ReHack Magazine and editorial contributor at AR Insider. She specializes in VR/AR, IoT, and business technology. See her work here and follow her @rehackmagazine.