New technology

What will virtual reality mean for corporate sustainability?

Virtual reality is all over the news right now. It’s going to stay there. So what might it mean for big companies beyond just great, immersive marketing and product/service communications?

I can see many applications:

  • Everyone will be able to experience the supply chain. Imagine putting on a VR headset and being taken to a cocoa farming village in West Africa, or inside a Bangladeshi factory.


    Headsets will be the size of sunglasses soon

  • Training will become much more “real” for employees, contractors and suppliers. People will much better understand choices being made inside, say, a virtual boardroom, or deep in the supply chain, or just in everyday situations.
  • Consumers will be able to understand the complexity of say, improving the environmental impacts of a supplier, or can be taken inside protected rainforest to understand their importance.
  • Real-time virtual reality, still a few years away, will completely change how we experience ongoing situations, again, perhaps in the supply chain, or to show outsiders what the inside of a factory might look like, right now. Cameras that can deliver this are due on the market any time soon.
  • Perhaps as a result, measurement of progress could be ever-more real-time. It maybe harder to avoid or fudge numbers with such increased visibility.
  • Investor communication will be improved, with real-time VR they will be able to engage executives as if in the same room, rather than on conference calls, in large meetings or at AGMs.

The above is just a toe in the water in terms of the potential for this technology. I’d be interested in what readers think about other applications.

For those interested in the topic, this TED talk on the subject should be of interest.

I’m also investing in a VR start-up at the moment. If any readers might like to explore what VR COULD do for their business, let me know at

Here’s a great example how you might use the technology in your supply chain from the WSJ:

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