Driving ESG performance through Artificial Intelligence-enhanced business process optimisation



Business process optimisation is a key practice for businesses that are looking to thrive. When processes are optimised, waste, process errors, inefficient resource utilisation, and bottlenecks that compromise productivity and efficiency can be easily identified. Artificial intelligence (AI) plays a key role in helping businesses to improve and optimise their processes. Today, large companies are investing in exploiting AI for such purposes; nevertheless, small businesses can, too, benefit from everything that AI has to offer. Among others, AI can be used to speed up or automate processes across various business units, from IT operations to supply chain and human resources. 

Businesses are furthermore increasingly recognising the importance of managing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance in their business processes and the creation of business value. The importance of ESG efforts has only grown in time, exacerbated by external forces such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the ongoing issue of social inequality, and the challenges posed by climate change. Organisations of all sizes are under increasing pressure to increase their ESG initiatives, both from regulatory bodies and other stakeholders. Consumers, for example, have become more aware of companies’ ESG efforts, which has pushed organisations to prioritise ESG in order to remain competitive and reduce the risk of losing market share.

Overall, ESG remains a complex and rapidly evolving concept that pervades all aspects of a business process. The number of companies across industries that have adopted these initiatives has slowly but steadily increased. The benefits are plenty. For example, it is good for business to implement and report ESG metrics openly and transparently, as this may draw investment from sustainability-focused investment firms. But for companies to run a successful ESG programme, a large amount of complex data must be collected, processed, and reported. Once again, AI technology has proven to be an extremely useful tool for dealing with large and complex data sets when transforming ESG objectives into impactful changes. AI’s capabilities make it the ideal tool for supporting ESG initiatives and compliance in a variety of ways. As the importance of ESG is only set to grow in the coming years, organisations that incorporate AI into their processes now will be better prepared to face new ESG regulations as they emerge. As ESG initiatives and practices differ from company to company, so will the use of AI tools to improve ESG and effect change. Furthermore, if organisations are to derive long-term value from AI-ESG integration, they must manage the transition to mass adoption in an ethical and responsible manner.

This special issue aims to present the research community and practitioners with the latest academic research developments that examine how organisations can drive ESG performance through AI-enhanced business process optimisation, ultimately leading to increased productivity and efficiency, as well as profitability. 

It is expected that the research articles will assist practitioners and relevant decision and policymakers in their attempt to measure ESG efforts and design policies aimed at raising the level of efficiency of current ESG policies, identifying and engaging in best practices, and allocating governmental resources – ultimately, with the overarching aim of achieving sustainable development.

List of topic areas:

  • Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: 
  • Unlocking the value of ESG data through AI-BPO tools;
  • The impact of COVID-19 on driving ESG performance through AI-BPO; 
  • AI-BPO for ESG for driving net zero;
  • Ethical frameworks and standards in driving ESG performance through AI-BPO;
  • Emerging AI technology applications to ESG monitoring and reporting through AI-BPO; 
  • Mitigating risks in driving ESG performance through AI-BPO. 

Guest Editors:

Vincent Charles, School of Management, University of Bradford, United Kingdom, [email protected]

Tatiana Gherman, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Northampton, United Kingdom, [email protected] 

V. Raja Sreedharan, Cardiff School of Management, Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom, [email protected] 

Submissions Information:

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at:   https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bpmj 

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see:   https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/journal/bpmj#author-guidelines

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““Please select the issue you are submitting to”. 

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key deadlines:

Opening date: 31/01/2023
Closing date for manuscripts submission: 31/05/2023