CIO Thinktank Zürich 2022: Sustainability in the palm of a CIO’s Hands

by Yara El-Sabagh

Now in #ConfareBlog all you need to know about the CIO Thinktank Zurich 2022: Sustainability in the palm of a CIO’s Hands

Annually, CIOs, CDOs, IT directors and IT managers meet for inspiration and exchange of experiences and perspectives. IT decision-makers from all over Switzerland come together at #CIOSUMMIT Zurich. This is where they have the chance to expand their network, discover innovative solutions and find partners for new projects. They have the chance to learn from the practical examples of our top-speakers. CIOs can have discussions in the CIO Executive Arenas, find out all about the latest news on ongoing topics such as cloud, software as a service, cybersecurity and be inspired by the work of our Swiss #CIOAward winners. It is an event you do not want to miss!

We recently paid our partner EY Switzerland a visit and had a thorough discussion about the topic of sustainability. In this blog we share with you the results of the discussion of the advisory board: How is sustainability in the palm of CIO’s Hands?

What is the CIO’s role when it comes to sustainability? Or is it not the CIO’s job at all to address sustainability ?

The role of the CIO is essential. But there are many things that have changed in today’s businesses when it comes to sustainability. What has changed now is the ‘need’. Nowadays, sustainability is a “must do” for a company. It is no longer just an option; however it is a requirement that legally must be met.

Previously, companies dealt indirectly with the topic of sustainability. At those times, the reasons were more or less financial ones. For example, companies have thought of economical solutions to save up money and reduce costs concerning prices of electricity, oil and gas. Now the topic has come up again as a major trend. However, today, it is not just about saving money and using earth’s resources more carefully, it’s about laws and reports. The company must be able to report and prove that certain requirements have been met.

If you’re in the food industry, you know about the subject because we often have to show that we’re hygienic, that we’re gluten-free and all that stuff. So it’s not that we’re shocked about this new topic. The shock is about where we can get all the data from. That’s a bit of a challenge. A lot of the data does not come from classic IT people but from the OTs. In two to three years there will no longer be a difference between IT and OT, but that is not the case today. Then we have all the security, service providers and suppliers. Each of those has their own approach and standard. And now the challenge is: The ESG report – how do we get all this data from different sources to fit together?”


Dietmar Bettio, Aryzta

Is the IT’s responsibility solely to provide the data for reporting or is there more to into it?

If a company today uses the data only to have a report at the end of the day, then that is just “okay”, but they have missed a lot of opportunities in this case. There is so much more behind the data: The company has a chance to design new products. Based on this data, decisions can be made about changing the business model. Moreover, this data can show in which direction the company could develop.

It is not just about collecting data and fulfilling some ESG-reporting requirements. A company can use this data for several other benefits. It is absolutely worth going down a rough path and consolidating the know-how to get the data. In the end, the report is much more than just satisfying the regulator.

ESG is a value-creating tool. Based on academic research, it is scientifically proven that investing in ESG outperforms investing in an increase in sales by 1%. So it makes a lot of sense to deal with ESG. The world will turn around and companies will have a great advantage if they deal with sustainability not as laggards but as first movers or early adopters. They have an earlier chance to access the market.

Let’s say for example, today I am a rim supplier to major automotive groups. There is a regulation that from 2028 onwards, the aluminum in the aluminum rim must be recyclable and the rim itslef must be CO2 neutral. If I do not comply with this a rim supplier, I will simply no longer be a rim supplier. If my main business is that I’m a rim supplier and do not comply with the regualtion then I will basically shut down my business. So i have to think of it as a business opportunity to make my way to comly to this regulaltion as early as possible”


Benjamin Teufel, EY

What is the importance of sustainability in the insurance industry?

In the insurance industry, sustainability is also a regulation that must be met and reported. This has a huge opportunity among the CIOs. Specially that today the topic of sustainability is closely connected to the topic of data infrastructure.

Here there is the chance to advance in data-driven businesses. This is done by learning, through sustainability, how the data can be differently used. What simplifies this is that the issue of sustainably  has earned a lot of importance among societies and communities. The insurance industry has always been data-driven, and it is a great business opportunity that we can learn from the data we have.

Sustainability and Cyber Security

A lot of the data related to the topis of sustainability is also data that needs to and must be protected. Sustainability will not result in new cyber security requirements, but it is today recognized that cyber security can make a contribution in this context. This knowledge was not there before.


Earlier security was though of as a chance stopper. Today, you can see that security and certain aspects of it definitely have an “enabling” function to push certain things forward. If someone has cyber security under control, it will definately have a positive impact on the ESG. That is out of question! This is a logical consequence in my point of view.”

Tom Schmidt EY

Tom Schmidt, EY

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