Sustainability is not a buzzword. It’s a revolution of our economy and our society – and we’re right at the start.
At the end, no stone will be left unturned.
The businesses and brands who act first and quickest and those who are prepared and open for the future will be the winners and market leaders sooner or later, while the others will be cast aside by consumers who are becoming more conscious of the consequences of their buying decisions.
Organizations with a purpose (or those who aspire to have one) that ideally targets one of the SDGs have a powerful tool: Their actions are like drops on water, causing ripples of different sizes expanding across it. Sometimes, those ripples can be seen far from the epicenter, the place of the first drop touching the surface, causing it to move and change its initial state. Every purpose-driven decision has impact – and the closer to the epicenter, the bigger this impact is. So where do you want your business to be?
Twenty years ago, businesses were thinking about having a website. Nowadays, this isn’t even a question. The digital space and its possibilities have increased so much – with both businesses and individuals profiting. Digitalization was – and is – big (and unfortunately is still a no man’s land for some organizations), but today sustainability is close on its heels.
Whereas digitalization stands for change through progress, sustainability means changing to progress. Acting climate-friendly, doing good, and being socially-responsible is no longer a “nice-to-have” for businesses but the only way to stay relevant in the coming decades. There are dozens of studies underlining how purpose-driven businesses with a long-term vision who act accordingly are much more profitable and dramatically outperform those classified as short-term, profit-driven competitors. Even Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, not necessarily known for his green mindset, insists: “Ultimately, purpose is the engine of long-term profitability.” Globalization and digitalization has dramatically intensified this phenomena, as businesses and products get more and more exchangeable. And Fink should know, given one of his latest investments was Oatly, an oat drink for the post-milk generation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for a transformation to a fairer, more sustainable and resilient future. It has forced leaders to make instant and far-reaching decisions – but with the potential to amplify the ripples they’re making into their communities and beyond. Companies exploring and embracing their own humanity – and therefore their space in society and on our planet – were front-line champions during the pandemic and will keep paving the way toward a better future.
We believe in the power of the next generation to be trailblazers for scalable, innovative solutions for persisting sustainability challenges.
But why wait?
Compared to mostly economic risks that threatened businesses and people 10 years ago, today we’re facing mainly environmental risks – and they need to be addressed faster. They won’t fade away on their own. While taking a holistic and systemic view, we have to do more to identify, measure, and proactively manage those risks. The good thing: They can be opportunities, too.
Companies willing to rethink their actions or who are brave enough to envision a circular economy are our guides to a better tomorrow. Green and social supply chains enforced by governments and investors alike are just the beginning. (Have you heard the UK’s already requiring British companies to report on their environmental impact within the next 5 years? It won’t take long before you’ll have to do so, too.)
Corporations, consumers, and communities collaborating with and contributing to new ideas can have a big impact on our future.
Now is the time to put yourself at the center and question your leadership and your company’s position: What will future generations expect from you? What greater role can you play in the world and what small steps can take you there? Every action causes an effect. Just like a small ripple could cause a big wave – you want to ride it, not drown.