The Changing Climate of Corporate Sustainability
27 January 2016 at 9:58 pm
This year corporations should expect a shake-up in sustainability practices, led by international mandates and the push for innovation. Corporate sustainability strategist Jill Riseley takes a look at what’s in store for 2016.
Another busy year is predicted for 2016 amongst sustainability and community teams in corporations. Following the recent ratification of international commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals and COP 21 (Paris Climate Change Agreement), corporates will be expected to develop strategies to address social and environmental impacts. Companies without an articulated approach will be busy in early 2016.
Some of the emerging trends include:
With tightening government purses, 2016 trends indicate further strategic collaboration between the corporate, community and government sectors to address major social and environmental issues. Multi-corporate collaborations will also emerge as a theme enabling significant and scaled action and investments.
Honing in on purpose
Research in 2015 continued to find a strong link between a sense of purpose and improved business performance, employee satisfaction and talent acquisition. We’ll see companies seeking clarity around their reason for being, beyond profit.
Courageous brands are likely to reap the rewards of taking a proactive stance on social and environmental issues. Those that authentically embed values into organisational approaches and brands will benefit.
Growth in innovation
Growth in social impact, shared value approaches and social enterprises will continue enabling new innovations and opportunities to emerge. So too will the chances of market disruption. This includes changing corporate practises in response to ethical campaigns. Increased consolidation and alignment of social and environmental investments and partnerships to company interests and impacts is also expected.
Boards and corporate management will be held to account on sustainability, including ethical business conduct, diversity and transparency. Supply chains will continue to be an Achilles heel for many companies.
In light of these trends, the key opportunities emerging in 2016 for Not for Profits looking to engage the corporate sector investment are:
· Aligning partnership proposals and outcomes with key organisational purpose, impacts and risks: creative collaboration processes are also evolving in partnership development with corporate and NFPs (who are values aligned) co-creating impact focussed solutions rather than scripted sponsorship approaches.
· Innovation in consumer and employee engagement: with volunteering and matched giving now viewed as standard offerings, a growth is expected in the search for authentic and unscripted experiences for “employers of choice”. Opportunities for staff and customer education on key conservation or social issues (aligned to corporate investments) will also continue to evolve.
With big shake-ups set in corporate sustainability practices, and with the mandate of reporting and transparency of this sector, 2016 will definitely be a year to embrace innovative changes and strategic branding opportunities.
About the author: Jill Riseley is the Founder and Managing Director at Meliora Group, a strategic advisory firm specialising in corporate sustainability.