VMware commits to greater ESG accountability at VMworld 2021, says GlobalData

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues will receive larger prominence at next week’s VMworld 2021 when compared to any previous year. This is due to a new dedicated track at VMware’s annual tech conference. However, the challenge for VMware now will be to demonstrate real transformation and progress towards specific and measurable ESG targets, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s report ‘VMworld 2021: Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Issues Take Center Stage’ reveals that VMware’s decision to expand and formalize the focus on ESG within a dedicated track can partly be attributed to the current climate, which is seeing more technology companies declare their commitment to ESG targets.

Chris Drake, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Before 2020, VMworld events had only a scattering of Professional Development, ESG, and Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) sessions but no dedicated track for those topics. In 2020, VMware introduced the Professional Development track and this year, the company plans to expand this track to include DEI and ESG sessions and rename the track to ‘Inspire Change’.”

According to VMware, which recently published its 2021 ESG report, a commitment to ESG is not only about the transformation of VMware’s own internal operations and supply chain but is also about helping its customers achieve their own ESG goals, using VMware solutions.

Enabling customers and partners is described by VMware as a ‘cornerstone’ of how it demonstrates its progress towards its 2030 Agenda, a 10-year plan that sets out 30 ESG goals and aligns them with core business strategies to ensure meaningful impact.

Mr. Drake adds: “Increasingly, technology firms are treating their commitment to ESG as both a value-driver and a competitive battleground. However, this is also attracting growing scrutiny and, in some cases, scepticism about the prospect of corporate greenwashing.

Since the start of 2021, GlobalData has been asking business respondents to report on companies’ attitudes towards sustainability. Only a minority of the people polled (17%) believed that the majority of companies are sincerely committed to sustainability, and almost 60% of GlobalData’s sample continue to hold a somewhat cynical view on sustainability commitments, believing them to be a ‘greenwashing’ marketing exercise in some or most cases.

Mr. Drake concludes: “At VMworld, the company will be able to point to several achievements from the previous fiscal year, including a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 19% and the launch of the VMware Responsible Sourcing Program for suppliers. VMware also knows that, to be sustainable, a more formal commitment to ESG issues needs to be accompanied by a clear roadmap and periodic evidence of progress with its 2030 Agenda.”

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