So here we are, into the second week of January, and for most of us that have not had our houses flooded, or cars washed away in the torrent of rain hitting England, there is still a sense of ‘can do’, expectation and positivity, as we look to the year ahead. I love the sense of newness in January- the feeling that nothing is too big to tackle.
So what are your aspirations for your organisation this year? Are they simply to make a bit more money and not change much else? Are they to look at improving the bottom line but at the same time consider the environmental and human cost of your organisation’s products or services? Are they to become leaders and innovators and thereby building a legacy for the future of the companies? What will you personally do that will be different to last year? Will you buy only fairtrade chocolate and make a difference to the human trafficking of children in the cocoa trade? Or simply consider recycling your rubbish (I am still amazed at how many people simply don’t).
We put a summary together of what happened in corporate sustainability in 2013. When I reviewed the points with my ‘can do 2014’ lens on, it struck me that there didn’t appear to be much that would change this year in terms of sustainability trends- except for ONE thing- a more robust drive for greater transparency, value creation and engagement. I think we will still see:
- customers pushing the agenda;
- NGO’s pressing for change and more campaigning on human rights issues;
- shareholders beginning to have their say;
- more rigorous reporting standards;
- growing concerns over natural resource shortages, particularly water;
- supply chains being key, with the drive for energy innovation continuing and a growing emphasis on demonstrating legal compliance;
- employee leverage alongside a move to more strategic sustainability in ISO standards
What all of this indicates, is that complacency by companies in finding out what environmental, social and governance risks they have will only leave them open to falling behind those Leaders willing to embrace change, and prepared to invest in it.
Of course, everyone will have their own opinion. What’s yours?
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