Great news! Our UK Sustainability Board – chaired by our chairman with senior representation from all of our UK business units – signed off on new environmental objectives last week. I’ll post more about the actual objectives a few days. For this blog, I’m going to head off in a slightly different direction.
Regular readers of will be aware that Capgemini UK is one of five companies that have committed to the concepts of net positive. From a Communications perspective (that’s me), this means helping to define what ‘net positive’ looks like to us and to build a ‘brand’ around the programme that evolves. Our new objectives are the metrics that will enable us to demonstrate our ‘net positivity’.
One of my first tasks towards building that ‘brand’ was to determine what others are doing:- our clients, our competitors and other companies with a strong reputation in the field of sustainability.
And this brings me to the point of this post.
My desk-based research revealed that different companies take a very different approach to corporate responsibility and sustainability (okay, so hardly a shocker, I admit). Of course, there are assessments, standards and audits that cover aspects of sustainability – ISO 14001, ISO 50001, EMAS, CDP, World’s Most Ethical, etc, etc – but there is a need for a much more cohesive – and global – approach to corporate responsibility and, especially, in my view, environmental sustainability.
Businesses are legally bound to protect profitability so their actions around environmental sustainability and corporate responsibility are only – and understandably – about doing what is best for them in the short-term, not for the planet in the long-term. (I am pleased to say, incidentally, that last week’s Sustainability Board meeting signalled an understanding and acceptance of this within our walls).
A single, agreed and common approach is essential: one that, for example, links board room bonuses to environmental targets, that demands funds for research to replace limited resources; that requires support of the communities around corporate facilities – in short, a single set of standards to which every business must adhere, report and be measured.
Two more points to make:
· The more enlightened businesses have already discovered that a strong position on corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability enhances profitability.
· Competitive advantage comes from how demonstrably committed a company is to sustainability.
As I write this, a picture of the energy labels associated with white goods comes into my mind. Imagine one of those on the inside cover of every corporate annual report.