We’ve all been there, whether it’s worrying too much about what other people think or not speaking up in a meeting when we have a good idea – the fear of rejection holds all of us back from getting what we want at times. However, in the fast-paced world we now live in, another fear emerges; rather than rejection, this fear is that of replacement.
But this has also sparked some concerns related to the potential competition it poses to some professions such as writers, techies, teachers, consultants, media workers, market researchers and analysts.
What’s more, ChatGPT is also potentially poised for an upgrade.
the most that openai, or any other company, can do is to steer the AI revolution a little.
this will impact all aspects of society, and will be an emergent thing created and shaped by all of us. much much bigger than any company.
— Sam Altman (@sama) December 18, 2022
But how much of this is realistic, and how much of it is just a symptom of the flawed human ego?
We asked ChatGPT to share with Impakter some reassuring words to comfort those who fear being replaced by AI. The chatbot responded:
“AI is a tool, not a threat. It can augment human capabilities, not replace them. Embrace the change and reskill to stay ahead in the job market. Together, humans and AI can achieve greater things.”
Also, the title for this article was suggested by ChatGPT itself when prompted to do so.
We decided to put ChatGPT to the test, to see whether journalists should actually be concerned about competition from the chatbot or not.
Let’s see how good ChatGPT is at writing an article.
We’re developing a new tool to help distinguish between AI-written and human-written text. We’re releasing an initial version to collect feedback and hope to share improved methods in the future. https://t.co/4dQE3dX6vX
— OpenAI (@OpenAI) January 31, 2023
We’re at a critical stage in the climate race, and now is the time for all levels of society – be it at the individual, corporate, government or international scale – to commit to the change.
Against this backdrop, and in an effort to increase transparency and accountability on the roles that companies are playing in the race to net zero, Impakter recently launched the Impakter Sustainability Index; a new rating tool that evaluates the sustainability and corporate social responsibility of a wide range of companies in different sectors through a socially responsible lens. It’s a tool “Made by People, for the Planet” and aims to bring clarity to corporate sustainability efforts across and within individual industries.
In light of this, we thought it would be timely to ask ChatGPT to share some of its own recommendations for how businesses can better approach sustainability and support the green transition, so we asked the chatbot to write an article to summarise its suggestions in this area.
How did it go, was much input or editing required?
Much like when pitching any article idea to a writer, we provided ChatGPT with basic guidance on what the overarching message of the article should be, as well as the structure, style and main themes we wanted to see featured. We also provided a list of key points for the chatbot to take into consideration when formulating its response.
To give you an idea of how this pitching process went, it took some time to come up with a prompt for ChatGPT that yielded the content we were looking for.
However, after considered input, ChatGPT’s ideas, insight and arguments were well-thought-out and well-written (as you will read in a moment); however, there were a few glitches where, on occasion, it would stop mid-sentence and required a helpful prompt to “continue writing the article.”
We needn’t be too critical here though, as we would also probably hit a bug in the mental code when writing a long and complex article.
Most of the time ChatGPT was able to pick up where it left off seamlessly, however, there were a few instances where it lost its place and ended up repeating itself and generated a small degree of overlap, for example, the word “sustainability” was arguably overused.
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Some editorial judgement was therefore required to avoid repetition and glue together a seamless article. It must be mentioned, though, that there were absolutely no grammar edits required at all.
Similarly, by including a simple statement in the initial prompt for ChatGPT to write in a “chatty and conversational” style, no style edits were required during the editing process either.
In fact, ChatGPT’s style, flow and general ability to write for impact were extremely impressive, and in many ways overcomes the challenges faced in navigating the subtle nuances and potential miscommunications in human writing.
What’s more, when asked to edit its own text to convey a different overarching feeling, or to be targeted at a different demographic, ChatGPT was able to rework sections of the article, changing tone and emphasising different aspects appropriately.
After completing all required sections of the article, we also asked ChatGPT to provide some short, catchy title suggestions for its own article, many of which were pretty good. For example, “Green is the New Black: The Power of Corporate Sustainability” and “Be a Hero, Go Green: The Benefits of Corporate Sustainability.”
We also asked it to suggest titles for our article, ultimately settling on the current title: “Journalists Beware: ChatGPT Is Coming for Your Job.”
Alas, without further adieu, we present “Sustainability: The Future-Proof Business Strategy for 2023,” an article written entirely by ChatGPT, and we hope you enjoy it, if not even possibly get some good ideas out of it!
Please note that, although this article has been written entirely by ChatGPT, some minor editorial adjustments have been made to the text as part of Impakter’s standard editing process.
Sustainability: The Future-Proof Business Strategy for 2023
In recent years, the concept of sustainability has become increasingly important for businesses around the world. With the negative impact of human activities on the environment becoming more and more apparent, companies are realizing the crucial role they play in creating a better future for the planet.
With the global population projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050 and the United Nations estimating that it will take 100 years to repair the damage already done to the planet, it is crucial that companies take action to reduce their environmental impact and support the green transition.
Therefore, as we head into the new year, it has never been more important for businesses around the world to make supporting sustainability, environmentalism and the green transition a core part of their operations and ethos.
The good news is that more and more businesses are starting to understand the importance of sustainability and are taking steps to make their operations more environmentally friendly. The world’s largest companies have already taken significant steps to support sustainability, and many have set ambitious goals and targets to reduce their environmental footprint.
By committing to sustainability, companies can help mitigate the impact of human activities on the environment and contribute to a greener future. However, with so many different elements to consider, it can be difficult to know where to start.
This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to help companies approach sustainability in 2023 and beyond.
Embedding Sustainability in the Core of Your Business
Embedding sustainability in the core of your business is not just about having a sustainability strategy. It requires a complete overhaul of the company’s operations, philosophy, and media and communication efforts to ensure that the company’s entire business model is based on sustainable principles.
For companies to effectively support sustainability, it is important to incorporate it into all aspects of their business.
The Importance of Incorporating Sustainability in Business Operations
A company’s operational activities are the backbone of its business and where most of the impacts on the environment and society occur; the way a company operates has a major impact on the environment, from the materials it uses, to the energy it consumes, and the waste it generates.
Sustainability should therefore be at the heart of a company’s operations, as it encompasses all aspects of the business, from the products and services offered, to the way the business is run.
Ensuring that a company operates sustainably means that it will have a positive impact on the environment, on society, and on the company’s bottom line.
Here are 10 recommendations that can help companies to become more sustainable in their operations:
- Optimize supply chains by implementing sustainable sourcing practices, such as sourcing recycled or biodegradable materials, using environmentally friendly shipping methods, and sourcing raw materials and components from suppliers that align with their sustainability goals. Companies should consider the entire lifecycle of the products being sourced.
- Invest in clean energy. Companies should transition to using clean energy sources, such as wind, solar, and hydropower, to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a greener future.
- Invest in green finance by funding projects and initiatives that promote sustainability and renewable energy, as well as businesses that operate within a closed-loop system.
- Prioritize sustainability in product design and development. Companies should design their products with sustainability in mind, using sustainable materials and minimizing the environmental impact of the production process.
- Decarbonize operations. Companies should set targets to reduce their carbon emissions and energy consumption, and adopt practices such as clean transportation and energy efficiency by implementing energy-saving technologies.
- Implement circular economy principles. Companies should strive to reuse resources as much as possible, implement recycling and upcycling programs to reduce waste and conserve resources, and encourage customers to recycle or donate products at the end of their lifecycle as well.
- Purchase carbon offsets. Companies can offset their carbon emissions and mitigate the impact of emissions that cannot be reduced by purchasing carbon credits from verified emissions reduction projects.
- Set sustainability goals, tracking and reporting on progress. Companies should set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) sustainability goals and track and report their progress towards achieving them.
- Prioritize environmentally friendly products and services. Offer products and services that have a low carbon footprint and use sustainable materials and production processes.
- Obtain sustainability certifications. Companies should seek out certifications that demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, such as B Corp, BREEAM or LEED certifications.
The Importance of Sustainability in Corporate Philosophy
The way a company thinks and operates is just as important as its operations.
A company’s philosophy is a reflection of its values, beliefs, mission, and vision, and ensuring that sustainability is at the forefront of the company’s philosophy means that it will be integrated into all decision-making and will inform the way the company operates.
Here are 10 recommendations that can help companies to embed sustainability into their corporate philosophy:
- Appoint a Chief Sustainability Officer to lead the company’s sustainability efforts. This person will ensure that sustainability is at the heart of all decision-making and that the company’s operations are aligned with its sustainability goals.
- Adopt Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policies. Companies should adopt policies that align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change that will help them to manage sustainability risks and to ensure that sustainability is integrated into all business practices.
- Foster a culture of sustainability. Companies should create a workplace culture that supports and encourages sustainable practices, and offer training and incentives to employees who embrace sustainability.
- Report on sustainability progress regularly. Companies should report regularly on their sustainability performance, including their progress towards achieving their sustainability goals. This will provide stakeholders with an insight into the company’s progress and the impact it is having on the environment and society.
- Support useful collaborations and initiatives. Companies should participate in initiatives and collaborations that promote sustainable development and support the renewable transition.
- Support human rights. Ensure that all stakeholders’ rights are protected and that the company operates within the bounds of ethical business practices.
- Promote employment quality. Invest in training and development programs for employees, offer competitive salaries and benefits, and ensure that workers are treated fairly and with respect.
- Create a transparent and deliverable sustainability commitment plan. Companies should develop a clear and measurable plan that outlines their sustainability goals and the steps they will take to achieve them. The plan should evolve with time, reflecting the latest trends and advancements in sustainability.
- Develop a sustainable mission statement and vision. A clear mission statement will communicate the company’s commitment to making a positive impact on the environment and society, and will inspire employees to support the company’s sustainability goals.
- Embrace Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Invest in initiatives that support the community and the environment and consider the impact of the company’s operations on society.
The Importance of Sustainability in Corporate Media and Communications
The way a company communicates its sustainability efforts is just as important as the efforts themselves.
A sustainability focus in corporate media and communications is important because it helps to build and maintain a company’s reputation as a responsible and environmentally conscious business.
By effectively communicating their sustainability efforts and initiatives, companies can not only demonstrate their commitment to sustainability but also inspire, engage and build trust and credibility with their stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors, and suppliers, differentiating themselves from their competitors.
Additionally, a sustainability focus in corporate media and communications can also help companies to stay ahead of industry trends, meet regulatory requirements, and ultimately achieve a competitive advantage.
Here are ten recommendations that can help companies to embed sustainability into their corporate communications:
- Avoid greenwashing, by ensuring that all sustainability efforts are genuine and deliver tangible results.
- Use news, advertising, and marketing campaigns to communicate the company’s sustainability efforts and raise awareness of the importance of sustainability.
- Establish a sustainable content strategy: Companies can use their media channels to spread their sustainability message and engage with their audience using eye-catching visuals and videos to explain the importance of sustainability and how the company is contributing to a better future.
- Leverage social media: Social media is a powerful tool for companies to communicate with their audience. Use it to share sustainability stories, updates, and initiatives, and partner with influencers in the sustainability community to reach new audiences and promote your sustainability efforts.
- Create a sustainability blog: Companies can create a sustainability blog to share their sustainability journey, updates, and stories.
- Attend and participate in sustainability events: Showcase your commitment to sustainability and engage with other companies and individuals in the sustainability community.
- Create a sustainability report: Companies can create a sustainability report to showcase their sustainability achievements, goals, and initiatives. This report can be used for media, stakeholders, and investors.
- Monitor your media coverage: Regularly monitor your media coverage to understand how your sustainability efforts are being perceived by your audience and make improvements where necessary.
- Develop a media response plan: Develop a media response plan in case of a sustainability crisis, and make sure all stakeholders are aware of the plan.
- Share your sustainability success stories: Share your sustainability success stories with your audience to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and inspire others to follow your lead.
Achieving a Sustainable Future: Why it Matters for Companies, People and the Planet
In 2023 and beyond, companies that prioritize sustainability will be the ones that thrive and lead the way for a sustainable future for all.
It is crucial for companies to recognize the significance of sustainability and environmentalism in their business operations and philosophy, because not only will they be contributing to a greener future for the planet, but they also stand to benefit themselves in a number of ways.
As more and more consumers are becoming environmentally conscious and are more likely to purchase products and services from companies displaying a strong commitment to sustainability, by doing so, companies can improve their reputation, enhance brand image, attract and retain employees and customers, and gain a competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced business world.
Companies have a unique opportunity to create a positive impact on the planet and future generations, but it is also essential that companies continuously strive to evolve their sustainability commitment plan as they grow and learn. The time has never been more important for companies to embrace sustainability and incorporate it into all aspects of their business.
The future is now, and it is time for companies to take a bold step forward and make sustainability a priority in all aspects of their operations.
To CEOs and business leaders, it is time to embrace sustainability as a driving force in your company’s operations and philosophy. By placing sustainability at the centre of everything you do, you can drive growth, increase profitability, and enhance your reputation as a responsible and forward-thinking company.
To employees, it is time to use your passion and creativity to drive change from within. By actively engaging in your company’s sustainability efforts, you can make a positive impact on the world, improve the quality of life for yourself and future generations, and work for a company that you are proud of.
In conclusion, by making sustainability and environmentalism priorities, companies are not only playing their part in preserving the planet for future generations, but they are also setting themselves up for success in the long term.
They have a unique opportunity to shape the future and create a positive impact, so let’s take this moment to commit to sustainability and be the change we wish to see in the world.
End of ChatGPT’s article. The next section was entirely written by a human.
How did ChatGPT do?
To begin with, we have to acknowledge that with only a standard level of editing required, ChatGPT was able to produce a coherent, engaging and genuinely insightful piece of writing.
And as we’ve established, ChatGPT is also able to provide some degree of support in the editing process, reworking parts of the text’s style and sentiment accordingly.
However, when it comes to the novelty and readability of its work, we must remember that this piece was produced after a degree of priming in the form of content and structural guidance. Without this, we found that ChatGPT generally produced fairly short pieces of writing.
For example, when provided with the following prompt alone: “Could you write an article about how businesses can become more sustainable?” with no keywords or guidance, ChatGPT opened with a couple of sentences, listed five bullet-pointed ideas about sustainability, and then closed with a short concluding paragraph.
Although the ideas listed above were not particularly novel or detailed, when provided with a follow-up prompt asking for more specific and actionable suggestions (i.e., policies and/or certifications), ChatGPT was able to display a deeper knowledge in the area, e.g., recommending the purchase of carbon offsets and obtaining B Corp and green building (LEED) certifications.
What is also interesting about this piece, is that ChatGPT generated content related to corporate sustainability not only from an environmental perspective, but also from a business angle, stating that:
“By incorporating these practices, businesses can not only reduce their environmental impact, but also improve their reputation and attract environmentally-conscious customers,” and adding that: “Ultimately, businesses that prioritize sustainability will be well-positioned for success in the coming years.”
By taking this approach, ChatGPT’s content plays to the economic longevity of a business instead of its duty, which possibly stands to inspire action more successfully, and is a standpoint that’s not highlighted enough at present.
A fair bit of human journalistic guidance was required
Now, when ChatGPT was provided with sufficient content and structural guidance (as was given within the prompt that yielded the more thorough first article above), such as keywords, suggested sections, and a few sources, ChatGPT was able to produce a much more informative piece.
The breadth, context and specificity of the key points included in ChatGPT’s answers is impressive, even if they were briefly, but inertly touched upon in the prompt.
For example, ChatGPT was able to accurately place the incorporation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives into a context that created an actionable plan for businesses to follow.
The chatbot was also able to search through the link provided in the prompt that referenced sustainability certifications, making useful suggestions such as obtaining B Corp, BREEAM or LEED certificates.
From the keyword “green finance” that was provided in the prompt, ChatGPT was able to cover “closed-loop” businesses (those that reuse the same materials and create new products from them), encouraging investment in these companies specifically.
“Carbon offsets” was another keyword included in the priming materials, and ChatGPT expanded on this by emphasising “verified emissions reduction projects” as the primary source of such offsets; a promising move given that such initiatives are sometimes drawn into question.
ChatGPT also repeatedly makes reference to the “full life-cycle” of business operations in the article, displaying an impressive consideration on ensuring that both the upstream and downstream of corporate activities are sustainable as well, recommending that “companies should consider the entire lifecycle of the products being sourced.”
Longevity and adaptability are also highlighted somewhat unprompted in ChatGPT’s answers, as it states (with regard to a sustainability commitment plan) that “the plan should evolve with time, reflecting the latest trends and advancements in sustainability.”
The vast majority of ChatGPT’s recommendations are in fact all well-aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate targets, as was requested in the prompt.
Furthermore, although the suggestions generated were arguably not groundbreaking, they could still serve as helpful starting points to push businesses in the right direction.
The “Media and Communications” section, however, was arguably the most novelly insightful section, with the suggestions listed here being largely not based on any of the keywords included in the prompt; this section was pretty much all ChatGPT.
Suggestions such as “create a sustainability blog,” “attend and participate in sustainability events,” and “share your sustainability success stories” are all very helpful ideas that appeal to the masses and simultaneously raise awareness for climate advocacy amongst consumers in parallel.
It is also worth noting that when asked to rework the sentiment of the article’s closing paragraph to convey to the reader that “all hope is lost,” ChatGPT refused to do so, citing a breach of OpenAI’s content policy that could cause harm. A reassuring refusal given the climate disinformation and propaganda we face online.
"We must make lying wrong again."
— United Nations (@UN) September 11, 2021
Could ChatGPT replace journalists?
Of course, in the wrong hands, ChatGPT like any advanced technology could be misused, and some schools, universities, scientific journals and AI conferences have moved to place restrictions on use of it.
But in terms of competition, rather than as a competitor, ChatGPT could perhaps be viewed as more of a catalytic collaborator, a tool, and a companion.
For example, back in the day, librarians surely also kicked up a fuss about the rising popularity of the internet rendering their work and institutions redundant, but in fact, the internet probably helps them manage their systems and inventories even better!
Rather than swimming against the current, or butting heads with the competition, isn’t it perhaps wilier and more effective to go with the flow and collaborate?
In regard to ChatGPT’s article above about corporate sustainability, the fact that the chatbot was able to construct compelling, coherent and grammatically faultless prose, which was further improved when combined with additional input and guidance from a human, underscores the potential in joint efforts between man and machine to create valuable content.
Peter Wright, data scientist at Impakter and an integral member of the team that developed the Sustainability Index, says that “the issue with ChatGPT is that it’s not deterministic, you ask it the same question two or three times and it will give a similar, but not the same answer each time.” He went on to say:
“Jobs will, out of necessity, in the future, move towards integration between AI and humans, where humans are not only valued on their knowledge, but also on their competences in using and ‘guiding’ AI.”
This brings us back to ChatGPT’s reassuring words from the beginning of this article:
“Together, humans and AI can achieve greater things.”
So rather than worrying about what the dawn of ChatGPT means for the future in a negative light, perhaps it’s better to start looking at the catalytic capabilities this AI tool could bestow on people and industries instead.
Don’t be scared, be excited!
you’re supposed to pour your life force into something and it’s not supposed to always be easy
— Sam Altman (@sama) January 7, 2023
Correction: This article has been updated since publication to remove repetitive statements; clarify the title source in the subtitle; remove of all company names in relation to sustainability or ChatGPT to avoid assumptions; and remove mention of GPT-4 to avoid possible confusion.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: OpenAI logo on mobile phone screen. Featured Photo Credit: Zac Wolff/Unsplash