Is the role of sustainability changing within companies? A combination of existing structures being questioned and lower technology costs for sustainable investments now paves the way for sustainability as a growth strategy rather than a risk mitigation function. Growth in a sustainable manner…
Since the introduction of corporate sustainability, it has been considered an extra cost for risk mitigation and making “compensating” positive impact. Now, as the world has reached a tipping point of volatility, mainly due to climate change but also by emergence of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine, the applicability of existing corporate structures is under question as these poses high risk to the existence of our planet. In parallel, the technology cost for sustainable investment has reached parity in comparison with non-sustainable alternatives.
The combination of these forces is turning sustainability into a growth strategy for corporates. Companies can still grow, even faster than before, and become highly profitable without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The enabler of such growth? IT and digitalization.
Developing sustainability strategies
The role of corporates, as the change makers in our societies, in sustainable development is inevitable and critical . The challenges associated with developing corporate-sustainability strategies have received some attention over the past decade . It has been argued that to truly incorporate sustainability into corporate decision making and culture, it’s essential to develop new governance strategies to fully involve stakeholders, so as to positively impact sustainability from the three main perspectives of society, economy and environment .
Recent study at Cognizant called Deep Green have highlighted the importance of five key actions on corporate sustainability desired by top executives around the world:
- Boost sustainability investments
- Elevate Internal Initiative
- Expand your sphere of influence
- Explore the deeper application of technology
- Evolve power structures
On the sustainable interaction of corporates with the community, it has already got transformed to long-term mutually beneficial commitments beyond philanthropic donations  . However, one aspect which has not received the same level of attention is the way in which corporates grow even faster by means of investing in sustainability initiatives.
The evolution of sustainability’s role in corporates