Since the phrase “environmental, social and governance” (ESG) was introduced in the early 2000s, businesses have slowly realised the value of being environmentally sustainable.
It began with the odd solar panel and some posters about workplace equality and has quickly grown into a global movement of responsible businesses with the best intentions to do better for the environment and society.
Back in 2018, the National Association for Environmental, Health, Safety, and Sustainability Management (NAEM) released its Insights from Successful Supply Chain Sustainability Practices report. This publication declared that 89% of businesses were looking at their supply chain’s environmental impact or were planning to do so.
However, further research has found that intentions don’t always translate into action and a range of excuses are being made for not pushing best-practice sustainability practices.
Perhaps the concept has garnered a “woke” reputation or the benefits don’t appear to outweigh the costs, but WolfPeak is passionate about debunking these ideas.
Instead, our environmental consulting services reveal how businesses can create real value from their compliance efforts and turn them into a strong point of difference before their competitors do.
If you need to learn more, get in touch with WolfPeak for a free 30-minute conversation to map out where your business can benefit.
Reasons to improve ESG
A real paradox exists in the hunt for stronger ESG credentials. For some businesses, it may be a simple case of priorities – are they on growth or sustainability? We believe you can’t have one without the other.
According to an EY survey, businesses’ top reason for moving toward a sustainable supply chain (by a fair margin) was “cost savings.”
Conversely, the top obstacle to achieving their sustainable supply chain goals was a “lack of budget.” Oh, the irony!
Those businesses that fail to bite the bullet in the next few years and put their long-term sustainability (and subsequent success) ahead of short-term dividends are almost destined to fall behind.
Respondents did have some more wholesome and forward-thinking reasons for moving towards sustainable supply chains though. These included brand management, competitive differentiation, risk management, and innovation and opportunities for circular manufacturing.
We would also add talent retention and supply chain resilience to the expanding list of reasons for going beyond compliance.
How to go beyond compliance
We love and hate to tell you this, but there are SO many ways to go beyond compliance. It can be overwhelming or uplifting and we choose to see it as the latter.
Allow us to simplify things, as we know time is money. Not all methods will apply to your business, so pick and choose a few things that you can apply straight away as well as over the next 12 months. Soon enough, your business will be unrecognisable and doing all it can for both; the environment and society.
Listen to stakeholders
If you’re really stuck for ideas, the best way to gauge your next step is to ask those who matter most — customers, investors, and employees.
These are the people who will know your business best (besides yourself) and what might take it to the next level. Of the three highlighted above, no single party is more important than the other. Take them all seriously and discover the themes that arise from multiple surveys.
Is there room for more transparent manufacturing, workplace equality, or a more innovative way to deliver your product or service? Sometimes the best responses are the most obvious and have been sitting under your nose the whole time, while others will take some research and development to make them a reality.
Whatever you do, remember a survey isn’t the final product. In fact, they can cause more harm than good if you ask for advice and then don’t take any of it.
Encourage sustainability in suppliers and manufacturers
This tip will be relevant depending on where your business sits in the supply chain. Basically, encouraging the businesses around you to join the good fight is a good look for your business. Not only does it allow you to highlight the responsible businesses you work with, but it also allows you to reduce your scope 2 and 3 emissions with minimal effort.
Internal training programs
Sustainability is a team effort so it pays to get everyone on the same page. No matter your business model, your ESG can’t be improved when only a fraction of the staff are committed to the cause.
Explain to them why sustainability matters to your business and educate them on the best practices to achieve your goals. This could be improving the quality of product manufacturing, improving energy efficiency, or encouraging better waste management practices.
Get your sustainability claims in order
Since the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released its draft guidelines on environmental and sustainability claims, WolfPeak has encouraged businesses to understand the weight of each claim they make.
The guidelines explain your business’s obligations under Australian Consumer Law when making environmental and sustainability claims.
Simple steps such as having measurable goals, not being misleading, and providing evidence can all ensure your stay within the law while going beyond compliance.
Our team is passionate about putting others on the map and gaining value from environmental compliance. We believe the environment and the economy can grow as one when businesses put their priorities straight.
Get in touch with us for a free 30-minute conversation to understand where the opportunities lie for your business.