Awareness of the sustainability challenge we are facing has never been greater. Since COVID brought the world to a halt and the words “how can we build back better” were uttered, the agenda has become a daily news item. Social, environmental and legislative pressures are increasing at an accelerating rate and businesses are now experiencing an unprecedented level of consumer, employee and investor activism. Sustainability will be the biggest driver of change we have faced and organisations will either adapt and survive or cease to exist - it is quite literally a “do or die” agenda item.
We are increasingly hearing from our clients about the scale and pace of change ahead, so in response we have put together a simple approach to help frame your organisation’s sustainability transformation.
The first steps are to (1) assess risks to your business from climate change and other ESG related factors, and (2) to declare your impact and set targets to reduce this. These are very important first steps, but to achieve these targets organisations need to see sustainability as a full business transformation. This takes your organisation beyond just creating that green product and capitalises on the huge opportunities for innovation and competitive advantage that sustainability brings. From our experience with organisation change and transformation, we have identified 3 further steps to complete this:
(3) identifying, understanding and engaging all stakeholders, from employees to supply chain to the environment as a stakeholder.
(4) co-creating opportunities with these stakeholders, and using sustainability as an innovation strategy. We are working with clients in ways such as sustainability sprints that bring together cross-functional teams to drive some of the innovation and creativity that is needed from the bottom up.
(5) Finally, the whole organisation needs to be aligned and embedded around the agenda which is a fundamental shift from a linear growth mindset to a circular economy mindset. This shift will require leaders to consider all levers of organisational effectiveness, from culture and ways of working, to governance & decision-making, talent attraction & development and sustainability leadership – a range of levers to drive an organisation wide transformation.
Whether the ambition is to be a sustainability leader, or to just keeping pace with the market, we are helping our clients through this simple approach to understand the roadmap ahead, to de-risk the transformation and to ensure that sustainability becomes truly embedded in the business.
To find out more please get in touch with our Sustainability Team (details listed below) or listen to our recent webinar where some of the UK’s largest organisations shared how they are tackling their own transformations – click here to listen.
Finally, we have also being looking at Q5’s own sustainability transformation and how we can not just reduce our impact on the environment but have a positive influence on society and the world around us. Stay tuned for some exciting announcements around this soon!