The future of work: Sustainable business
Eco-conscious business and industry solutions could contribute upwards of USD 12 trillion worth of new market value and business opportunities globally by 2030.
This aligns with the Business and Sustainable Development Commission Report, Better Business, Better World (2017), which concluded that companies shifting to sustainable and environmental business models will be in the best position to fully embrace these opportunities. In addition, the next decade will be critical for businesses to place this key strategic focus on environmental challenges.
The public sector has begun following this trend with a rise in environmental legislation globally. For example; the EU and China have recently developed circular economy policies encouraging reduced waste in the business world. It has been stated in the that implementing this circular economy legislation could lead to trillions of dollars in savings for businesses, alongside the obvious environmental advantages.
Leading the way
In the private sector, some of the world’s biggest companies are leading the way. Siemens, Europe’s largest industrial manufacturing conglomerate, employs around 375,000 people and in 2017 generated €83.049 billion in revenue. The organisation has publicly declared its goal to become a world leader in climate change reduction and claim their environmental portfolio has saved their customers from producing an estimated 300 million tonnes of CO2 as they tap into the market for sustainable investment. Siemens also lays claim to the title of being the most energy efficient firm in the industry, producing more revenue per kilowatt used than any other competing corporation. The organisation states that it “defines sustainable development as the means to achieve profitable and long-term growth”.
Big footprint, big opportunity
The transport sector, with one of the largest carbon footprints of all industries globally, is beginning to follow suit. Ford is also now not only a world leader in the automotive industry but has also climbed to the top of sustainable business rankings globally. Improving fuel economy and developing technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are key aspects of the company’s business strategy. As well as this, the organisation is in the process of investing $11 billion in its electrified portfolio, indicating a general industry move towards environmental innovation. Ford has stated that “doing our share to meet the collective challenge of climate change is a key responsibility and a strategic priority”.
These examples are indicative of a shift to more of a focus on long-term societal gains and impacts. Innovation underpins the success of these top global organisations and provides clear examples that businesses can actually find competitive advantages in implementing sustainable practices and succeed not in spite of, but because of, an environmental focus. The world’s largest organisations are capable of creating sector-wide shifts and so the trends and activities of these industry leaders are worth taking note of.
It is clear that as the business world moves rapidly into future ways of working, those who adopt sustainable organisational change alongside technological and digital change will be at the forefront of disruption in their respective industries.
- Financial Times, 13th July 2018
- Harvard Business Review - Rethinking sustainability in light of the EU’s new circular economy policy, July 2018
- Ford Sustainability Report, 2017/18
Latest blog postsSee all blog posts
Continuous improvement: back to the top of the agenda?
‘Continuous improvement, originating from the Kaizen methodology, is the practice of improving processes, streamlining work to reduce waste or improve customer service. It is now being used by thousands of organisations across the world to improve business performance.’ (1) Has there ever been a better time for organisations to develop or reinvigorate their culture of continuous improvement?
How do you embed Human-Centred Design in your organisation?
This article is the last in a three-part series. In Part one, we went over what Creativity is, divergent and convergent thinking, and how to think creatively. In Part two, we delved deeper into how to use Creativity to solve problems and how fun collaboration can help spark innovative ideas. In Part three, we will focus on how Design Thinking can help to tap into Creativity and the importance of Human Centred Design.
Why aren't there more data-driven companies?
‘In God we trust. All others must bring data.’ (W. Edwards Deming) In their book, ‘Competing in the age of AI,’ Harvard Business School professors, Marco Lansiui and Karim Lakhami explain how market leading companies will increasingly use analytics and business intelligence tools to integrate internal and external data - to drive business insights, predictions, and operational actions.