VMware tackles ESG with innovation

VMware has created an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) function within the Office of the CTO that is working closely with the company’s CIO to mitigate risk and drive innovation.

VMware tackles ESG with innovation

US corporate boards are increasingly turning attention to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. ESG is an organization-wide endeavor for those companies rising to the challenge, and CIOs won’t be left out.

“I think the CIOs are the dark horse of ESG,” says Nicola Acutt, vice president of ESG at VMware. “No one’s paying attention to the role of the CIO, but it’s going to be critical.”

Acutt, whose ESG organization is part of the Office of the CTO at VMware, received her current title in December 2020 in conjunction with VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger’s announcement of Agenda 2030, a set of 30 goals in the areas of trust, equality, and sustainability that the company wants to achieve by 2030. At the time, Acutt said 2020 had shown that VMware’s past approach to corporate responsibility was “no longer sufficient in an interdependent and unpredictable world.”

2020 was defined by crises in public health, social inequity, and the global economy, Acutt says. With ESG issues top-of-mind for business leaders and investors, organizations need agility and strategic foresight to act on ESG issues.

“At the surface level, we can think about the CIO role from a data perspective. A huge piece of ESG is about data,” Acutt explains. “But the role of the CIO is actually much bigger than that. The CIO has a strategic role and opportunity in ESG in supporting that board-level agenda.”

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