Sustainable Transformation – Can I avoid it?
Sustainability transformation is a hot daily topic which has a substantial impact on organisations whether in the public or private sector. Becoming a sustainable and circular organisation means to be aware, understand and actively manage the social, environmental and governance impact from idea, concept and design, along your entire value chain, to the end use.
For organisations to focus on their sustainability and circularity challenges, the use of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals can provide a solid thread and guidance to see which aspects are relevant to them.
Often organisations lean on governmental “signals” through new implemented laws and regulations as well as taxes to comply and “adapt” to the new operating context and economic order; however this doesn’t bode well with a resilient sustainable and circular future of an organisation if it keeps reacting to the changes not being proactive, not seeking real awareness and understanding of the new opportunities a sustainable and circular economy offers. It is crucial for organisations to move beyond and concretely integrate sustainability and circularity into the business model, strategies and processes if it wants to keep a “license” to operate but most importantly if it wants to grasp at the full potential a green economy already offers.
Sustainability and circularity should not be an outside threat to an organisation but should be a C-level topic, where ESG (environmental, social, governance) criteria is at the heart of organisation strategy and day to day process in order to creates continuous value in the future and allow it to withstand future sustainable challenges.
Sustainable transformation is not only triggered by laws and regulations but more and more by Financial investors and other stakeholders increasingly demanding and expecting transparency, clear strategical information on ecological and social programs and on its progress, hence pushing organisation to take credible steps. In 2019, at the UN’s annual climate conference, +630 investors managing a +US$37 trillion in assets, signed a statement urging companies to take stronger action to address climate change, this shows the imperative in starting a sustainable and circular transition to still operate and generate growth in the future.
Each organisation is different, therefore they find themselves at different points of the sustainability and circularity spectrum. A holistic approach in necessary, however before thinking or planning on sustainability and circularity processes for instance an organisation needs to first gain knowledge. Regardless of sector (private-public) and industries, the common thread is the lack of knowledge and the overflow of information out there with no guidance but sure judgement contributes to a misconstruction of what sustainable transformation entails.
Having proper knowledge is adding value to the ecosystem (the organisation, the customer, the employees, the environment/stakeholders and society), knowing how to balance People, Planet and Profit becomes paramount. We live within a holistic system, where everything is connected and is equally important in order to keep a “license” to operate.
Not knowing what sustainability and circularity means to “you”, contributes to the reasoning of just “doing business as usual” is safer and cheaper; thus delaying or not switching to circular and sustainable business. Fear plays an important role in this, questions arises as to what do I get instead,? Am I not loosing opportunities? Can I handle the sustainable challenges?, etc. Once knowledge is acquired the journey to transformation can really start and bring all the opportunities often unknown to organisations.
In order for a sustainable transition to succeed, systemic changes in the entire ecosystem is necessary.
Hence, organisations need sustainable transformers that are key to help be aware and understand the sustainability and circularity journey tailored to each as a sustainable transformation is a continuous work in progress. Sustainable transformation entails finding the right sustainable goals, the right sustainable investment / investors and take the right steps having the entire value and supply chain in mind. Meaning that your business and sustainable-circular agenda should not be different but morphed into one.