For businesses of all shapes and sizes, being socially responsible is a growing and crucial priority, recognising that doing well and doing good go hand in hand, and implementing policies that bring that to life. Countless studies and statistics now link consumer choices, employee opinions, investor decisions, media coverage and governmental policies to the sustainability performance of companies, local authorities, non-profit organisations and many other bodies.
Whether we call it an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) approach or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), forward-thinking companies recognise the essential need for coherent sustainability strategies to build reputation and trust. Setting out a programme of policies, initiatives and targets to run your business responsibly, with positive impacts on society, ethical behaviours and minimal (or zero) impact on the environment, represents the ‘table stake’ for businesses seeking to remain competitive.
In essence, sustainability covers the operational impacts of that approach across the economic, environmental and social aspects of an organisation that matter most to your stakeholders – your customers, your people, your suppliers and the communities around your operations. When done well, an effective programme should set a challenging balance that changes behaviours for commercial benefit.
ESG factors have become increasingly important to identify risks and growth opportunities and build more sustainable and resilient businesses. Integrating sustainability risk factors can often fit into existing risk management processes. Once these risks and opportunities have been identified, they can be monitored and addressed.
Environment: Carbon reduction; sustainable use of resources, waste reduction and recycling, pollution prevention control and protection of healthy ecosystems.
Social: Equality and diversity, working and safety conditions, social value and community integration, employee duty of care, human rights and investment in staff skills development.
Governance: Robust management structures, anti-bribery and corruption, the elimination of modern slavery and compliance with all regulatory requirements.
Using technology and digitising ESG processes will lift crucial data and information out of spreadsheets and notebooks into systems that can track, manage, report and improve sustainable outcomes for an organisation. Given the complexity of modern organisations and their trading ecosystems, ESG technology therefore becomes pivotal in meeting goals such as:
- Compliance with relevant regulations and obligations
- Informed decision-making
- Promoting a sustainable culture
- Cost reduction
- Demonstrating credibility and winning new clients
- Managing reputation
- Safe work behaviours
- Audit of continuous improvement
- Visibility into employees, contractors and supply chains
- Reducing administrative time
At Alcumus, we use the theme of ‘Mutual Partnerships’ as the bedrock of our work with clients to establish sustainability as the ‘golden thread’ connecting sustainably-minded companies with contractors and suppliers. Through mutual partnerships, our expertise can drive deeper understanding of the risks and opportunities in sustainability – leading directly to actions and progress that inspire businesses to do even more, with clear returns for their customers and their people.
David Picton, SVP of Sustainability, Alcumus:
“Sustainability isn’t a buzzword, it’s crucial to an organisation’s purpose and strategy to grow brand equity and trust. Increasing expectations and growing public scrutiny mean that businesses need to demonstrate that they’re managing their operations without compromising on safety, sustainability or ethics. It’s a journey, not a destination and everything is a learning process where there will always be room for improvement to shape better futures. Sustainability is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must do.”
Register for our webinar “Using Technology to Achieve Your ESG and Sustainability Goals“ on Thursday 29 April with David Picton, SVP of Sustainability and Nicola Barker, VP of Product who will discuss key sustainability topics and how businesses are using technology to build safe, responsible and ethical operations.