Identity’s role in helping you achieve your ESG goals

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is a framework that every forward-thinking business must follow. By achieving ESG goals, organisations can attract more investors, secure customer trust, improve employee wellbeing, and create the sustainable workplaces of today and tomorrow – but what role does identity play in helping them on that journey?

To find out, Okta’s ESG and Sustainability Director, Alison Colwell, and I were joined by Richard Peagam and Charlotte Chalis, from Anthesis Group, for a fireside chat at our recent Oktane22 event. Here are some of the key highlights from our conversation:

Concerns about the environmental impact of online identities are rising

While organisations often fail to consider the impact identity can have on achieving ESG goals, Okta’s upcoming Digital Identity report found that EMEA consumers are increasingly aware of the ‘data pollution’ of their multiplying online identities - and of the risks that entails. 

With most consumers now having an average of 10 to 20 apps on their phones and a corresponding number of logins and passwords, it’s hard to ignore the impact this rising level of digital interactions is going to have on energy usage – not to mention the damage it can cause to the customer experience.

Excess and unnecessary data contributes heavily to the climate crisis

Though many of us might struggle to make the mental link – given that we don't have paper copies of virtual files, photos, transactions, or other data hosted in the cloud – the physical infrastructure needed to store that data can drastically increase an organisation’s carbon footprint.

According to the UNEP DTU partnership (a UN capacity building initiative) a meta-analysis of research shows  ICT's share of global emissions in 2020 being between 2% and 6%, with data centres making up approximately 45% of that impact. To put that in context, ATAG (Air Transport Action Group - made up of representatives from the airline industry including Airbus and Boeing) has the impact from aviation at just over 2% of global emissions.

Security friction slows down ESG maturity   

Alongside data pollution, security is another factor organisations must consider when targeting their ESG goals. While having to continuously authenticate their identity increases the consumption and friction for users, optimising their experience using Single Sign-On (SSO) could reduce that impact significantly - not just for customers and their customers, but for the workforce, too.

How can identity help organisations achieve ESG goals faster?

Simplifies hybrid working

Many organisations today are looking to retain and build on the benefits of remote working that began during the COVID-19 lockdowns. With Okta’s Workforce Identity Cloud, both organisations and their customers can quickly build out more sustainable hybrid working models at scale, increasing flexibility, and delivering more energy-efficient work environments that are secure and rooted in identity-first zero-trust.

Empowers organisations to modernise legacy IT systems faster

An identity-first approach can also significantly reduce the number of carbon emissions organisations create by running technologies on-premises. A building society in the UK, for example, incrementally reduced its environmental impact by replacing its legacy hardware token-based solution which had a large carbon footprint with Okta Adaptive Multi-Factor Authentication.

Helps reduce data pollution with optimisation

As consumers, we all hate having to enter excessive amounts of data when signing up for a new app or service. By using an identity solution like Okta’s Customer Identity Cloud, organisations can optimise customer experiences, reducing the amount of data customers need to provide. It also enables the swift adoption of social logins to reduce the number of fraudulent accounts that are created using bot protection.

Why trust in Okta

At Okta, identity is an important part of how we approach our ESG work. To create a world where people feel their identities are safe online and off, HOW we build our company, and the impact we have for our customers and communities, is just as important as WHAT we build. 

To learn more about how Okta is already helping organisations across the globe achieve their ESG goals faster, and to see how we can help your business do the same with our world-leading identity and access management solutions, watch the full fireside chat here.