Over 98% in UAE, Saudi believe business leaders would trust bots over humans in social decisions
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Over 98% in UAE, Saudi believe business leaders would trust bots over humans in social decisions

Over 98% in UAE, Saudi believe business leaders would trust bots over humans in social decisions

Nearly all of the respondents in the UAE believe sustainability and social factors are more important than ever

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People around the world are demanding more progress on sustainability and social efforts and are looking at businesses to step up, according to a new study.

The study by Oracle and Pamela Rucker, CIO advisor and instructor for Harvard Professional Development, of more than 11,000 consumers and business leaders across 15 countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, found that people are weary of the lack of progress society is making towards sustainability and social initiatives, want businesses to turn talk into action, and believe technology can help companies succeed where people have failed.

While 99 per cent of people in the UAE believe sustainability and social factors are more important than ever, 94 per cent said the events over the past two years have caused them to change their actions. Meanwhile, the figures for Saudi Arabia showed 98 per cent and 89 per cent for the same.

In both countries, 97 per cent of people believe that society has not made enough progress. Over 40 per cent attribute the lack of progress to people being too busy with other priorities and believe it is the result of more emphasis on short-term profits over long-term benefits (43 per cent).

In the UAE, 42 per cent of respondents said that people are too lazy or selfish to help save the planet. The figures in Saudi Arabia stayed at 34 per cent for the same.

The respondents also said they are frustrated and tired of the lack of progress by businesses to date and believe it’s not enough for companies to say they’re prioritising environmental, social, and governance (ESG) – they need to see action and proof.

The survey also showed that over 95 per cent of respondents believe businesses would make more progress towards sustainability and social goals with the help of artificial intelligence, and 74 per cent even believe bots will succeed where humans have failed.

Meanwhile, business leaders know sustainability efforts are critical to corporate success and even trust bots over humans alone to drive sustainability and social measures. Over 95 per cent of people noted that ESG programmes are critical to the success of their organisations. However, almost all business leaders are facing major obstacles when implementing sustainability and ESG initiatives. The biggest challenges include obtaining ESG metrics from partners and third parties, a lack of data and time-consuming manual reporting processes.

A total of 98 per cent from both countries responded that business leaders would trust a bot over a human to make sustainability and social decisions. They believe bots are better at collecting different types of data without error; making rational, unbiased decisions; and predicting future outcomes based on metrics/past performance.

Business leaders also believe people are still essential to the success of sustainability and social initiatives and think people are better at implementing changes based on feedback from stakeholders, educating others on the information needed to make decisions, and making context-informed strategic decisions.

The survey also noted how businesses need to prioritise sustainability and social issues and rethink how they use technology to make an impact – or risk facing major consequences. If organisations can demonstrate their progress on environmental and social issues, people would be more willing to pay a premium for their products and services; invest in their companies, and work for them, the survey revealed.

“The events of the past two years have put sustainability and social initiatives under the microscope and people are demanding material change. While there are challenges to tackling these issues, businesses have an immense opportunity to change the world for the better,” said Rucker. “The results show that people are more likely to do business with and work for organisations that act responsibly toward our society and the environment. This is an opportune moment. While thinking has evolved, technology has as well, and it can play a key role in overcoming many of the obstacles that have held progress back.”

“It’s never been more critical for businesses to invest in sustainability and ESG initiatives, as people don’t just want to hear about it – they’re looking for decisive action and are demanding more transparency and tangible results,” said Juergen Lindner, senior vice president and CMO, Global Marketing SaaS, Oracle. “Business leaders understand the importance, yet often have the erroneous assumption that they need to prioritise either profits or sustainability. The truth is this is not a zero-sum game. The technology that can eliminate all the obstacles to ESG efforts is now available, and organisations that get this right can not only support their communities and the environment but also realise significant revenue gains, cost savings, and other benefits that impact the bottom line.”

Read: Over 90% of UAE employees believe robots can support their career better than humans

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