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No future for business as usual – or usual business

LONDON: Sustainability advocates Forum for the Future,The Climate Group and WWF-UK have published what they say a company needs in order to adopt a “net positive” approach to its business future.

The 12-step guidelines explain that while a strong sustainability strategy helps a business enhance its reputation, increase sales, reduce costs and engage employees; a “net positive” strategy adds further benefits including competitive advantage, supply security and the space to innovate products and services.

SKF Beyond ZeroThe report includes ideas and case studies from BT, Capgemini, Coca-Cola Enterprises,The Crown Estate, IKEA Group, Kingfisher and SKF. The results of their collaboration are:

  • The organization aims to make a positive impact in its key material areas.
  • The positive impact is clearly demonstrable if not measurable.
  • The organization also shows best practice in sustainability in line with globally accepted standards.
  • The organization invests in innovation in products and services and in some cases, challenges the very business model it relies on.
  • A net positive impact often requires a big shift in approach and outcomes, and cannot be achieved by business-as-usual.
  • Reporting on progress is transparent, consistent, authentic and independently verified where possible.
  • Net positive is delivered in a robust way and no aspect of [the] approach compensates for unacceptable or irreplaceable natural losses or ill treatment of individuals and communities.
  • Organizations enter into wider partnerships and networks to create bigger positive impacts.
  • Every opportunity is used to deliver positive impacts across value chains, sectors, systems, and throughput to the natural world and society.
  • Organizations publicly engage in influencing policy for positive change.
  • Where key material areas are ecological, robust environmentally restorative and socially inclusive methods are applied.
  • An inclusive approach is adopted at every opportunity to ensure affected communities are involved in the process of creating positive social and/or environmental impacts.

Niall Dunn, BT chief sustainability officer commented: “The changing climate is already impacting businesses, raising costs and impacting customer service and satisfaction. Businesses need to build this into their short-term plans, but also take a longer term, global view.

“This means the ambition of business has to change. From doing less harm, to becoming net positive. We need to get beyond the concept that progressive climate change policy is bad for business; it can be a huge driver of innovation and create opportunities for growth and prosperity,” he added.

 

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