24/02/2020 Executing a business sustainability strategy is more important than ever and is essential for the long-term success of a business.
ESG goes beyond compliance, it is geared to be fully integrated into your overall business strategy. This is the instrument that enables executives to share their vision and goals in a transparent and effective manner, while building trust. The ESG impact must be tracked in order to appreciate its positive impact on a business’ bottom line.
Our experience and client engagement confirms that the perceived cost needed for resources to create a sustainable strategy is challenging.
This can, however, be overcome by understanding the practical elements needed to align your business’ goals to your sustainability strategic priorities. That way you can create a strategy that is both achievable and manageable.
Start the conversation
Stakeholder engagement is one of the important pillars of an ESG Strategy. Through education and influence, trust is built, and the business shares its vision, most critically, employees better understand their impact to drive economic success.
By speaking about current material topics, not only do you create the opportunity to listen to the opinion of your stakeholders, but it also starts to unpack a business case for sustainability that can be tailored to meet all needs. As soon as all material topics are on the table, owners often find themselves already on the path to finding necessary resolutions. At its maturity, this engagement process yields innovation.
Identify and engage stakeholders
Your stakeholder engagement strategy must recognise every person, group, and company your business interacts with. Having a strategy that formalises how you comment on proposed legislation, or how you interact with other organisations, for example, local universities or supply chains, is essential to building a sustainable business model.
Not only are external stakeholders important, but so are those internally and when it comes to influencing your ESG strategy. Your biggest stakeholder is your people. Having fluid lines of engagement within your business is crucial if these key players are to buy into the sustainable vision for your business, and feel empowered enough to act both independently and as a team.
If a business has straightforward employee education initiatives, it can save on expenditure as well as significantly reducing a company’s carbon footprint, resulting in exceeding its ESG targets.
For the product or service that your business offers, this is a time to question, are there better ways to deliver, reassess our supply chain requirements. Ask yourself, are you fit for the future?
Communicate clearly and consistently
While a starting point is to put in place the elements to launch your ESG strategy, clear and consistent communication an essential component to ensure better chance of success.
Consistency of message is important, whether it is in frequency of communication or the methodology underpinning the ESG strategy. Crucially, stakeholders need to know how the company’s strategy adds value to the business, and a well-thought out communication plan is the best way to unlock the value in this.
Overall, businesses developing or improving their ESG business strategy, should take a positive approach that breaks those elements down into manageable and achievable actions. This is a key step in kick starting any ESG journey.
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