Sustainable Business Now: Showcasing How Sustainability Works
Feature by Michael McComb, Chris Coulter
We are seven years on from signing the Paris Agreement on climate change and two years into the UN’s Decade of Action for accelerating sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. A new era of sustainability leadership is emerging that requires more impact at scale and pace.
The time has come to deliver on the ambitious commitments and public goals that many companies have set to tackle climate change, safeguard the environment, protect human rights, and fight inequality. The “what” we need to do has never been clearer. The focus is now on “how” companies operationalize sustainability and turn ambition into results at the scale that aligns with the scope of their influence and global issues. In GlobeScan’s annual survey of sustainability leaders, experts around the world agree that action and impact are two of the defining features in this new area of leadership and rising expectations.
GlobeScan and SAP have developed Sustainable Business Now – a new platform featuring real-world examples of how leading companies are operationalizing sustainability at scale. This initiative goes beyond the high-level narratives and digs into how leading companies are tackling and implementing solutions to specific sustainability challenges and opportunities. Drawing on the experience of some of the world’s most sustainable and innovative companies, these case examples share valuable insights and learnings to help advance the work of sustainability and business leaders at any point in their sustainability journey.
Practical, Powerful Insights for Key Questions
The initiatives featured on Sustainable Business Now focus on timely challenges and opportunities that are top-of-mind for chief sustainability officers and business leaders across sectors and geographies. For many companies, these represent some of the most material issues and priorities for influential stakeholders, from investors and customers to governments and civil society. Our conversations with sustainable business leaders get at the heart of what it takes to embed sustainability into business strategy and operations, thereby integrating sustainability across a company’s value chain.
Key topics Sustainable Business Now explores include:
- How to decarbonize complex supply chains and tackle hard-to-transition sectors
- How to tackle the waste crisis and move towards a circular economy
- How to integrate sustainability into finance and decision-making
- How to advance inclusion and tackle inequality across the value chain
- How to promote inclusive local development by improving the impact and scale of social programs
Learnings from Leading Companies
Sustainable Business Now launches with a diverse set of case examples from some of the most innovative and sustainable companies around the world:
- Anglo American shares insights on how to improve the impact and scale of social programs: Jon Samuel, group head of Responsible Business Partnerships, and Mzila Mthenjane, Exxaro’s executive head, Stakeholder Affairs, discuss how the company and its partners have designed and adapted their Collaborative Regional Development (CRD) program to address the most compelling social needs and opportunities in each region. “We are pleased to be one of the first case studies featured on Sustainable Business Now,” says Samuel. “The challenges societies face in meeting the SDGs are so large and complex that only by working across sectors and organizations can we achieve the results we need. While CRD isn’t a silver bullet, our evidence shows that the approach has real potential to improve the impact of the private sector.”
- Natura shares advice on how to integrate sustainability into finance and decision-making: Natura developed its Integrated Profit & Loss (IP&L) model to translate the company’s environmental and social impacts into financial terms. Natura &Co Latin America’s Sustainability Director Denise Hills and Chief Financial Officer Silvia Vilas Boas explain how Natura’s IP&L model creates value across its businesses. “We believe that IP&L is a new breakthrough that will inform strategic thinking and decision-making across organizations. The more companies that take ownership of this methodology, the closer we get to a society that generates greater shared value for all. By sharing the framework and our learnings on Sustainable Business Now, we hope more companies will adopt this important approach,” says Hills.
- Ørsted offers insight into how to decarbonize your supply chain: In 2021, Ørsted became the first energy company to set a science-based goal to achieve net-zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2040. Senior Director and Head of Global Sustainability Ida Krabek and Chief Procurement Officer Virginie Van de Cotte share insights on the journey so far, the challenges, and their advice to others on how to decarbonize their supply chains. “Acknowledge that this is challenging and it’s challenging for everyone. That’s why we’ve chosen to take this very collaborative approach and to create these ripple effects,” says Krabek. “What is helpful in the whole sustainability space is that we collaborate, that we share, that we inspire, that we set expectations, and we follow up.”
- Unilever shares guidance on how to advance inclusion and tackle inequality across your value chain: Central to Unilever’s Compass business and sustainability strategy is an ambitious commitment to ensure that everyone who directly provides goods and services to Unilever will earn at least a living wage or income by 2030. Unilever’s Chief Sustainability Officer Rebecca Marmot explains why the business decided to make such a bold move and the steps it has taken to navigate this complex undertaking: “Living wages are an effective and measurable way to tackle inequality. A unified approach can unlock progress across the sustainable development goals and add US$4.56 trillion to global GDP every year.”
We are having many more conversations with others and plan to add more cases on an ongoing basis.
We hope you are as excited as we are about Sustainable Business Now and we look forward to working with the community and hearing your feedback. If you, your company, or someone you know may be interested in sharing insights from your work and contributing to the dialogue, please reach out to the team to learn more: email@example.com.
For more information on how SAP helps companies record, report, and act on their sustainability goals, visit www.sap.com/sustainability.
Chris Coulter is CEO of GlobeScan.
Michael McComb is global head of Sustainability Communications at SAP.