If you haven’t updated your sustainability or corporate social responsibility approach in the last few years, you are putting your company at risk.
Recent research, which I profile in the new Conference Board of Canada briefing paper, Setting a Long-Term Sustainability Vision (which itself builds off of one of the Qualities of a Transformational Company), reveals that leading companies increasingly are shifting their sustainability agendas from an internal and operational focus to an external, value chain approach. They aspire to improve the sustainability performance of their company and those of their suppliers, customers, business partners and industry. They do this to build the social license to not just operate, but to grow.
Progressive companies take direct aim at the sustainability mega-forces that are changing the operating conditions in which they can succeed and thrive. They switch out incremental and modest improvements in favour of bold action and accelerated systemic change at scale. No longer obsessed with yesterday’s internal projects, leading organizations collaborate with third parties to influence best practices, standards and government policy that, in turn, stimulate the transformation of their entire industry.
Purposeful corporate growth is achieved through identifying ambitious long-term sustainability visions that contribute to a prosperous future for themselves and society. For society to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and avoid the catastrophic shift to populism, fundamentalism and nationalism, businesses must pivot in this fashion.
Two companies to watch are The Dow Chemical Company and Swiss building materials giant LafargeHolcim. Both industry stalwarts, they are innovating their business models and setting a strategic course for a sustainable future. Check out their long-term sustainability ambitions:
LafargeHolcim has asserted it will “lead through innovation and develop products, services, and solutions with enhanced environmental and social performance. We will be a thought-leader in our sector and drive transformation along the construction value chain.”
Dow aims to “redefine the role of business in society.” Its aspirational goals include:
- Developing a societal blueprint that integrates public policy solutions, science and technology, and value chain innovation to facilitate the transition to a sustainable planet and society;
- Delivering breakthrough product and societal innovations, advancing a circular economy and valuing nature.
Want to learn more about how these two companies are trailblazing with ambitious sustainability visions? Join me, Dow and LafargeHolcim in an upcoming Conference Board webinar on “Sustainability Visions: Fresh Strategies For Today’s New Realities.”