What is corporate sustainability?
Corporate sustainability is an approach aiming to create long-term stakeholder value through the implementation of a business strategy that focuses on the ethical, social, environmental, cultural, and economic dimensions.
Sustainable business strategies are intended to foster longevity, transparency, and proper employee development within business organizations. These aim to convert today’s businesses so that they can continue to operate indefinitely in the future, meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. A sustainable business is profitable, competitive and environmentally friendly.
Companies that commit to corporate sustainability are more likely to increase their profit long term, minimizing risks, and attracting and retaining top talent. In fact, according to Forbes magazine: “Eight out of 10 millennials say they would take lower pay but work for an employer who shares their values.”
10 trends in corporate sustainability that will shape 2023.
1. Get ready for growth.
Economic growth is in itself one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Forecasts predict that 2023 is going to be a year of very strong growth for the global economy, projecting a global expansion of almost 5%, which would bring GDP back to pre-pandemic levels.
What are the possible risks?
The developing world (excluding China) will lag behind growth because of continued disruptions to the global supply chain that could throw economies off.
2. Be ready for sustainable transformation.
Achieving sustainable global solutions will require actors to undergo organizational transformation. We tend to think of collaboration as an “external challenge”, but the key to success lies in redesigning organizations capable of aligning incentives around impact and mobilizing complementary resources to achieve it.
From this perspective, a sustainable leadership mindset will undoubtedly be the driver of change: every leader must think about his or her role, not only as a leader in a very limited space, but also as a global citizen with a longer-term impact on society and the planet.
What are the challenges?
Developing a long-term business vision that cultivates a focus on decision-making beyond the short term, along with the courage to engage with stakeholders who can challenge change, and make connections beyond the immediate sphere.
3. Pinpoint what your business can do.
There’s no one-size-fits-all for sustainability. Every company needs to analyze who their customers are, who their stakeholders are, where they are doing business and what their regulatory framework is, and then think deeply about how to de-carbonize.
4. Set ambitious, science-based targets.
It may feel easy to declare that your company will be net zero at some point in the distant future, but it’s not really about that. Instead, it’s about establishing realistic, science-based targets that are achievable. Those targets should be clearly and transparently communicated to all stakeholders, because consumers are demanding this from companies.
5. Move from strategy to operations.
At the same time, the strategic decision to reduce your company’s carbon footprint must be translated into concrete, operational change.
6. Incorporate the circular economy.
Not all companies can be fully circular, but they can look at ways to better manage waste, ensure that their products are durable and repairable, assess whether there is a market for reconditioned products, consider whether they can implement a collection or recycling program, etc. The goal is to think about how companies will apply the principles of the circular economy in their day-to-day operations.
7. Clean up the supply chain.
The disruptions of 2021 and 2022 raise huge concerns about the global supply chain for 2023. But even beyond them, companies must continue to pay attention to their own ones. The challenge is twofold: on the one hand, companies must know exactly who their suppliers are, which sounds straightforward, but in complex global supply chains involving subcontractors, this can be complicated. On the other hand, companies themselves must be prepared to communicate to the public who their suppliers are; indeed, consumers and the public are increasingly demanding to know what is happening along their supply chain.
8. Make sure it’s inclusive.
One of the challenges of the transition is to ensure that it does not serve to accentuate existing inequalities. For if many people are excluded from the new models, the current groundswell of public support for sustainability will evaporate. The need to take into account those who are being left behind is urgent: if we do not consider the cost of the transition alongside the benefits, we will see a further increase in resistance.
9. Accelerate digital transformation.
Artificial Intelligence requires enormous amounts of energy. By its nature, it processes huge amounts of data, and all those data centers that perform storage and processing tasks require a lot of energy for cooling. The good news is that AI can also help to better conserve natural resources through better prediction, manage agricultural yields, or manage energy demand and supply in energy grids. Moreover, several AI giants have already committed to becoming carbon negative soon. Switching to a cloud service provider that has made such commitments can help organizations reduce their own carbon footprint as well. Expectations for AI in terms of efficiency and cost savings are very high: it is still considered the most disruptive technology today. But we need to look beyond the short-term benefits and also keep an eye on the long-term implications of AI scaling up.
10. Integrate Corporate Sustainability reporting
Adopting intentional measures that can be monitored will be crucial in the coming years. ESG reporting is mandatory for companies of a certain size, and more reporting is likely to follow. The Sustainable Financial Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) came into force in December 2019 and started to apply across the EU from March 2021.
The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is scheduled to begin this year and will require 49,000 companies in the EU to report on sustainability. Thus, the CSRD directive not only massively expands the group of companies that are required to report, but also brings sustainability reporting on an equal footing with financial reporting. This will entail very strict reporting requirements and will considerably expand the responsibility for the validity of the data. Although companies are currently still faced with a confusing selection of different reporting standards from governmental and non-governmental organizations, things are set to change in the medium term. Various actors are joining forces in pursuit of a global standardization of sustainability reporting.
Futureco Bioscience and corporate sustainability
In Futureco Bioscience we are involved with these values, and we have started to report our progress in corporate sustainability in 2004 by joining the Global Compact. Currently the industry is being enriched with new tools and strategies that determine us to improve and evaluate what will be the short-term objectives and strategies to implement at a formal level.
We have already achieved numerous objectives on corporate sustainability, such as:
- Reduce our C02 footprint by adhering to the Carbon Footprint Registry and CO2 Offset Program of the Ministry for Ecological Transition, for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the fight against climate change.
- Promote a Corporate Social Responsibility Policy certified by the United Nations Global Compact, annually reviewed and presented through the Progress Report, which reflects the company’s policies, tools and actions in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
- Reducing plastic entering the system by offering our partner network new environmentally friendly packaging for our entire portfolio of products for regenerative agriculture.
- We have joined the Target Gender Equality (TGE) accelerator program to implement the Sustainable Development Goal for gender equality. You can read more about this in our latest article by clicking here.
There is still a long way to go in terms of corporate sustainability, but we certainly have our targets set for 2023. You can find out about them by following us on our social networks: