★★★★★ 200+ Reviews
Become A GRI Certified Sustainability Professional
Complete preparation for GRI Certification exam
★★★★★ 200+ Reviews
KICK Start ESG / Sustainability
Begin with just 7 disclosures
ESG / Sustainabily Report Assurance
(for GRI Reports)
Do you have the right sustainability skills?
50,000 EU & non EU Businesses
will need to publish ESG / Sustainability information
How do you convince and build trust with your key stakeholders?
Competition in business is ever-growing. We are competing for resources, top talent, clients and investment. We must convince these key stakeholders (the people who can hold us back or stop us from reaching our objectives) that we are the right partner. On top of this, we must ensure that we are compliant with increasingly tight regulations and laws.
Success in aligning with younger generations and their decision making patterns
Millennials are attracted to businesses whose priorities align with their own. They expect business leaders to drive societal and economic change.
The purchasing patterns of younger generations are also different. They overwhelmingly choose sustainable brands and products either in their professional capacity (B2B) or on a personal level:
- A study by Nielsen found that there is an accelerating growth of people choosing sustainable brands (30,000 consumers in 60 countries).
- 2 out of 4 major consumer trends relate to sustainability (Mintel).
- Millennials love CSR (Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK).
Investment decisions are driven, to a large degree, by sustainability criteria. Stock exchanges around the world are increasingly tightening their rules and require that members provide sustainability information. The EU Directive requires large companies to report non-financial information.
Research is also demonstrating:
- 84% of Millennial investors interested in sustainable investing (Morgan Stanley).
- Corporate sustainability and profitability are interrelated (Oxford University).
- High Sustainability companies significantly outperform their counterparts over the long term, in both stock market and accounting performance (Harvard Business School).
Supply chain pressure
Companies across the world are choosing business partners that tie in well with their sustainability efforts. They choose companies that are in for the long-term and can demonstrate that they benefit from the transition to the green economy, responding to climate, demographic, technological change and political developments. Supply chains are being cleared of bad practices and businesses are expecting their partners to toe the line for continued business (Apple: Commit to be 100% renewable by 2030 to become a supplier).
Compliance. Understand where it is heading and gain competitive advantage.
The EU has recently announced the Green Deal. A plan which will be underpinned by €1 trillion spending over the next 10 years. Furthermore, the EU has the greenest ever parliament. From right to left, Brussels politicians are racing to prove their environmental mettle. Local authorities and regulators in Europe are finding ways to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. These facts are undisputable evidence of where compliance is heading, but also of the actions that are needed to adjust to the new reality.
In the UK, a petrol and diesel car sales ban has been brought forward to 2035. What does this mean for businesses? All Business will have to plan and replace their fleet with electric vehicles before they are left with a huge negative on their balance sheet which can cost them a hefty sum of money. If they rely on external services for their logistics, they have to ensure that they build strong relationships with partners that are taking action (assessment strategy and sustainable supplier selection).
Waste is another big issue. There are 7 billion of us right now and we are projected to reach almost 10 billion by 2050. Each and every one of us produces waste and regulators are finding ways to reduce this impact to sustainable levels. It is consumers and companies that produce waste that are getting penalised. How is this affecting your business now and in the future? Can you gain a competitive advantage over competitors by finding innovative ways to reduce or even eliminate waste? How do you adjust your products or services, so they are chosen because you are doing things in much cleverer, sustainable ways?
10-year-olds need to be able to read your sustainability report
A sustainability report is a key document for business success for two main reasons. It helps a company to:
- gain a complete picture of all the key issues it should address (environment, economy, people) and take action to increase its chances of succeeding in a very competitive world. A sustainability report helps a company benefit from the transition to the Sustainable Economy before competitors and gain a competitive advantage
- communicate with key stakeholders and convince them that you are the right partner for business with a lean and easy to understand report.
Sustainability reports can become very bulky and difficult to read for most people. A report might be a gold mine of information
for analysts and other specialists, but does it communicate well with the majority of other equally important stakeholders for your business success?
What are the key messages you want to communicate to other key stakeholders?
Are you able to convince in easy to understand ways that your company is the right partner (can it be read/ comprehended by a class of 10-year-olds)?
The benefits of a well-prepared sustainability report
A properly prepared, lean sustainability report can be effectively used by sales, communications, marketing, PR, human resources, and your investor relations. Such a report is not a greenwash because it is underpinned with data proving that you are taking solid, focused sustainability action – that you are measuring, managing and changing.
Imagine how much easier it would be to convince the key stakeholders for your business success (top talent, clients/customers, potential business partners, investors) if they were able to easily read your sustainability report.
They will be able to understand your company’s future prospects, which will empower them to make informed decisions. Your key stakeholders will clearly see how your company is:
- Responding to climate, demographic, technological change and political developments
- Benefitting from the transition to the sustainable (green) economy.
Sustainability Reporting and Marketing Communication Strategy Expert. Simon is a Fellow of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (FIEMA) and a Chartered Marketer and holds an MBA in Marketing. He is a GRI and IEMA Trainer, the publisher of www.sustaincase.com and owner of www.fbrh.co.uk. Simon teaches the FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA Recognised Course (venue: London School of Economics (LSE).