11 September 2022
A quarter of organisations are putting sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) at the heart of their transformation journey and reporting making great inroads. And one in three executives have diversity, equity and inclusion DEI tied to their own performance ratings. Yet, as organisations busily reinvent themselves, it is clear they need to anticipate and fulfil unmet needs; globally, 24% of the workforce are not confident they can afford the healthcare their family needs, for instance.
Organisations want and need to ensure sustainability is at the heart of business transformation — from company purpose, work standards and investment strategies to circular economy aspirations, environmental impact and supply chain standards.
The challenge is for organisations to live by their pledges to new work standards. How? By ensuring that these statements are the start of a journey towards becoming sustainable at the core — in other words, transforming to deliver every area of the business in line with sustainability principles. To do this, organisations need to:
- Embed sustainability in their purpose and culture
- Transform for sustainability
- Establish people sustainability as the “social” in ESG
- Differentiate themselves through sustainable investments
Sustainable business is no longer an isolated, single sphere of responsibility, but rather a multi-stakeholder agenda and part of a collective social and environmental ecosystem.
Elements of a multi-stakeholder sustainability agenda
Multi-stakeholder empathy is driven by four areas
External factors including
- Customers: making choices based on ethical products and practices
- Activists/Media: highlighting inaction, especially in regard to climate change
- Regulators and rating agencies: reporting on ESG progress and actions
- Investors: vocalising their intent around sustainability investment and ESG
Internal factors including
- Employees: caring about organisational practices and ethical conduct
- CHROs: shouldering responsibility for ESG progress and outcomes
- Executives: increasingly setting ESG and sustainability goals
- Boards: assessing sustainability and competitiveness by their reported progress on ESG metrics
Combined, all of this leads to a purpose-driven organisation