What is corporate sustainability? Transform your company into a sustainable business

In recent years, the word ‘sustainability’ has become a staple in our vocabulary. However, the real efforts and sustainability measures implemented in day-to-day activities are considerably reduced. The year 2023 has been confirmed as the warmest on record, and we can all agree that the causes are human driven. Unfortunately, sustainability is perceived as a trend rather than a necessity, despite the environmental emergency we face.

To combat this mindset, the European Union has implemented new policies and directives aiming to introduce new responsibilities for companies and establish sustainability reporting methods. And here we bring into conversation the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). Besides the sustainability reporting, we should ask ourselves: what can I do to save the planet? The best solution is to incorporate sustainability goals into strategies across all domains, including lifestyle and business.

What means sustainability?

Sustainability is often defined as the capacity to exist, work, and develop without depleting natural resources. The first official definition of the word was formulated back in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development (also known as the Brundtland Commission). It describes sustainability as development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Switching to sustainability is challenging, mostly because it is hard to understand the impact of any individual person or company. This concern has led to the development of certain instruments that suggest how sustainability should be viewed, understood, and integrated into decision-making. One such instrument is the three sustainability pillars model, often referred to as the ‘triple bottom line’, and consists of social, economic, and environmental dimensions. Implementing these 3 pillars of sustainable development within your company can be beneficial for a smooth business growth and for adopting a broader Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy.

What is corporate sustainability?

Corporate sustainability shares close ties with corporate social responsibility, yet it represents a distinct business approach. While corporate social responsibility focuses on a business’s accomplishments, corporate sustainability revolves around the strategies employed to achieve environmental, societal, and economic objectives. For businesses to ensure their viability, it’s important to promptly mitigate their environmental impact. One of the most effective methods involves reducing their carbon footprint, which begins with monitored carbon emissions.

As outlined in the leading GHG Protocol corporate standard, a company’s greenhouse gas emissions are categorized into three scopes. While reporting on scopes 1 and 2 is mandatory, monitoring scope 3 emissions is voluntary and often presents a significant challenge. Nevertheless, companies that successfully report on all three scopes stand to gain a sustainable competitive advantage. The scopes consist of:

Scope 1: Emissions that result from your direct business activities.

Scope 2: Emissions that indirectly emerge from the energy consumed in datacenters.

Scope 3: Emissions that result from indirect supply chain and all other business activities.

Emissions Scopes 1, 2, 3
Emissions Scopes 1, 2, 3

In this context, investments in sustainability not only help a company’s competitiveness in the market but also enhance its appeal to potential investors. Companies that neglect to showcase their sustainability efforts and fail to exhibit year-over-year progress are likely to underperform and become less attractive to investors.

Furthermore, sustainability is no longer optional, and the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) makes it very clear that companies should not only implement ESG strategies, but also be transparent about them.

ESG – your sustainability strategy

In the business realm, sustainability becomes fundamental, emerging as a vital economic component. For companies to realign their mission and purpose toward sustainability, adopting an ESG strategy is imperative. While sustainability and ESG are closely related concepts, they possess distinct focuses and governance implications. Sustainability offers a comprehensive, holistic perspective, addressing environmental, social, and economic dimensions. Conversely, ESG furnishes a structured framework for assessing specific performance criteria.


This approach uses non-financial indicators to assess the performance of businesses and organizations. ESG integration entails collecting data on a company’s policies, practices, and performance concerning environmental issues (such as impact and resource management), social issues (like employee and community relations), and governance issues (including structure and transparency).

Significant environmental challenges are unfolding, with consequences that will affect us all. This dimension from the ESG strategy is the most important, and it becomes crucial for companies to understand that they play a big role in both contributing to these issues and addressing them. Integrating environmental goals into corporate management is no longer just an option, it’s a business imperative.

EU turns sustainability into law

The European Council has set the goal for the EU to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990, and become climate neutral by 2050. To reach these goals, EU member states need to take concrete measures to reduce emissions and decarbonize the economy.

The European Green Deal is the EU’s strategy for reaching the 2050 goal. This agreement aims to transform EU into a resource-efficient and competitive economy by establishing a package of environment-oriented initiatives, one of them and the most important one for the business world, is the Corporate Social Responsibility Directive (CSRD).

Sustainability is no longer optional. The new CSRD replaces EU’s previous Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), which was implemented in 2014, obliging companies with over 500 employees to submit official non-financial reports, often referred to as “sustainability reports”.

What is CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive)

With CSRD, the European Commission defines a common reporting framework for non-financial data for the first time. Now, companies should report on the environmental and social impact of their business activities, and on the business impact of their environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts and initiatives.

The new EU legislation is requiring all large companies and listed SMEs, to publish regular reports on their environmental and social impact activities. On 28 November 2022, the European Union Council gave its final approval to the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and on 5 January 2023 it became officially applicable. Approximately 50,000 companies across Europe need to follow detailed EU sustainability reporting standards, corresponding to 75% of all EU companies turnover, compared to the NFRD which included only 11,700 companies.

Are you ready to report?

The new sustainability reporting rules will begin to apply gradually between 2024 and 2028, as follows:

      • • From January 1, 2024 for public interest companies with over 500 employees, the reports being issued in 2025;
      • • From January 1, 2025 for large companies (which exceed 2 of the size criteria: over 250 employees and/or 40 million euros in turnover and/or 20 million euros in total assets), the reports being issued in 2026;
      • • From January 1, 2026 for listed SMEs, the reports being issued in 2027.
Sustaianability directive CSRD timeline
Sustaianability directive CSRD timeline

It is unknown exactly when the EU Commission will sanction businesses failing to comply with the CSRD. According to the Commissions’ requirements within the Directive, the sanctions can be expected to be significant, and that’s why companies should be prepared to comply and make significant changes regarding their business strategies and activities.

Sustainability and Digitalization

Business sustainability can be considerably improved through the support of technology. These two business elements – sustainability and technology – are increasingly boosting each other and data-centric operating processes are essential to achieving net zero. Data is powerful as it allows us to gain an overview of the available natural resources and provides insights on how to build more resilient lives. The relevant data is generated and collected through digital technologies, enabling decision making for improving ESG KPI.

Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and other ”digital wonders” drive the green transition to a more sustainable future and empower companies to use data analytics to solve their environmental challenges. A successful corporate sustainability strategy starts with ambitious objectives and real-time data that provide valuable insights that set the company on the path to green transition.

Speaking of corporate sustainability, there are already big companies that are committed to the sustainability pledges. In 2020, Microsoft made a bold set of commitments: to be a carbon negative, water positive, zero waste company that protects ecosystems—all by 2030. It’s important that their environmental approach extends beyond their own four walls and supports the sustainability needs of the customers.

That’s why in 2022, Microsoft launched Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability – a comprehensive suite of enterprise-grade sustainability management tools.

Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability

The main goal of Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is to accelerate business progress and sustainability advance by integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) capabilities throughout the Microsoft Cloud portfolio and solutions offered by its worldwide network of partners. This data-driven approach is the key to a better understanding of a business’ environmental footprint and forms the backbone of any ESG solution.


Managing the environmental footprint of your business can be challenging, but Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability is the proper solution for tracking and reporting progress on sustainability pledges. Together we can achieve transparency and gain key findings that help companies to identify necessary changes and integrate sustainability practices for an improved implementation of ESG strategy.

Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability provides strategic guidance that will shape your organization’s journey, following the roadmap presented below.

Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability roadmap
Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability roadmap

Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability helps you to:

        • • Integrate data intelligence

      Monitor and evaluate the environmental impact of your operations and value chain, covering emissions, water usage, and waste. Data input methods include manual entry, file imports, or automated connections to data sources.

        • • Create a sustainable IT infrastructure

      Adopt services that reduce your energy consumption and the physical footprints of your data center (consider using Microsoft Azure). Moreover, the Emissions Impact Dashboard offers visibility into the emissions associated with the utilization of Microsoft Cloud services.

        • • Minimize the environmental impact of your operations

      Reduce the environmental impact of your operational systems and processes by implementing energy-efficient measures, updating transportation methods, and minimizing the environmental footprint of buildings, among other strategies.

        • • Build sustainable value chains

      Enhance transparency and accountability across your entire value chain, spanning from material sourcing to end-of-use. This involves increasing visibility throughout the value chain, developing more sustainable products and services, optimizing materials and product logistics.

    • Furthermore, with Microsoft  businesses can develop customized solutions utilizing familiar Azure and Power Platform tools. This enables them to adapt the platform to their unique requirements, crafting new formulas or reports that offer the insights necessary to propel their sustainability initiatives.

Let’s change the future together!

Are you a company in the EU? Chances are you’ll have quite some sustainability reporting to get started.

But first of all, set ambitious goals and start your journey with Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability. Companies that decide to migrate productivity workloads to the Microsoft Cloud benefit from continuous improvements, along with ongoing insights from Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability on how to level up their environmental goals.

Are you ready to change the future? Contact us and become a part of the change through the digitalization of your business.


Right from the beginning, we set out to build a Microsoft Dynamics Centre of Excellence that reunites the best specialist and the most efficient platforms in order to implement high performing and easy-to-use CRM solutions. We impose the most demanding standards of excellence on our processes, in order to ensure we are able to fulfill our mission and respect our values.