How businesses can achieve a good balance of E, S & G

Deborah Johnson
4 July, 22

With sustainability measures becoming more prominent in the technology channel and accelerating at a rapid pace, consumers and companies across the globe are now becoming even more conscious of the importance of Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) practices.

The evolving landscape is already creating obstacles for organisations across various industries, with 10% of channel respondents disclosing that they had lost a potential client as they could not demonstrate their company’s sustainable commitments. With sustainability being a priority across the IT industry, this percentage is predicted to increase in the coming years.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Due to ESG looking at long-term sustainability and capability of an organisation rather than immediate profits and growth, it is highly linked to teambuilding. Team building ultimately aims to enhance the well-being of a team in order to increase productivity.

Focusing on the social factors, teams can ensure companies accomplish a sound balance of ESG. Encouraging teamwork builds and strengthens employee relationships, encourages greater consideration of shared objectives, promotes team unity and leads to a team being able to work more efficiently.

Teamwork can help companies to improve their Environmental and Corporate Governance attributes of ESG as well, through compassion and accountability. Organisations and employees need to reflect on their impact on the rest of the world and how they can further develop their governance through empathising with various groups, communities, teams, and other businesses.

Appropriate governance ultimately means taking responsibility for your actions. Being able to address weaknesses will allow channel firms to hold themselves accountable and evolve accordingly. Teamwork not only allows them to understand and take accountability, but also to build relationships by connecting with various individuals. Real change occurs when a team comes together, collaborates, thinks together, and pushes boundaries. Employees are both the advocates and enablers of the sustainable transformation that is needed to enhance a company’s ESG approach.

Workplace Culture

Organisations need to prioritise creating a workplace culture that informs each outcome of inclusivity, service, and management. Channel companies need to invest in these two areas to achieve this cultural transformation and align their ESG strategies. For example, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) focuses on creating a hospitable environment for employees, regardless of their background and identity. DEI levels the playing field, by ensuring that all employees have the same opportunities for professional growth and progress.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is especially prevalent among the younger generation who often consider company culture when deciding on a position. Social Responsibility plays a prominent role in workplace culture. Today’s employees want to know how the company aligns strategies to help others and improve the environment. CSR is the cultural value that reveals how an organisation conducts business and does social good – embracing diversity and promoting inclusion.

The likes of health and safety, working conditions and information security are all key components to creating a positive and sustainable work environment. Channel companies need to demonstrate their implementation of innovative technologies and how they are tracking their ESG objectives. This includes supporting their partners as well as customers and employees in their transition to becoming greener, more sustainable and consequently more efficient – whilst embracing change and digital transformation.

Tracking Change

Talking about ESG is no longer enough and with companies fully aware of greenwashing tactics, it is increasingly common for potential partners to want to see credentials before embarking on a new partnership.

While there are many free tools that can be used to calculate your environmental progress such as the amount of carbon your business generates, getting a true picture of your complete ESG performance provides a more accurate benchmark not only for your external stakeholders but also for your internal teams to make informed decisions when it comes to sustainability. Using a business sustainability provider such as EcoVadis, businesses can monitor and improve the ESG performance of their business and trading partners.

The insights also provide an improvement journey across the whole ESG spectrum, with guidance on how to refine environmental, social and ethical practices. All of which are essential as the business continues to evolve.

Future-proofing your organisation

As climate, environment and diversity obstacles intensify, important changes need to be implemented. However, the rate of transformation is not in line with the scale required. Vision 2050: Time to Transform, which launched in March of 2021, lays out a structure for organisations to align with the obstacles we are facing as a global society. Companies now have the obligation to change the systematic challenges that we have created in such a way that we can justifiably call it transformation. Addressing these obstacles is important to business’ interests – and ultimately an organisations’ long-term success relies on a prosperous global society to trade with and a healthy planet for all. Future-proofed companies will be those who decide to assume a sustainable transformation.

A 2021 study shows that 76% of consumers will terminate their relationship with a company that treats the environment, their employees or the community in which they operate poorly. Companies that are reluctant to evolve will be likely to become irrelevant – as products and services will have less of an influence than the organisation’s ESG-processes and reputational impact.

One step at a time

Sustainability, though more recently perceived as critical, is still not always incorporated from the onset in an organisation. Not only are ESG-practices the next iteration of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but also the motivation for the survival of a company. Transformation needs to be integrated into the entire corporate strategy to consequently infiltrate every organisational function. 

Companies can start small and grow their transformation one step at a time. These small steps can hold high symbolic value, even when they are not the most sustainable movement a company can make. For example, introducing a single-use plastic free-zone is not challenging to implement, but it has a remarkable impact on the way your employees and clients view the seriousness of the changes your company is making. Initiating quick, low-cost and high-visibility initiatives is a great way to start your ESG-journey.

No change is too small, and channel businesses are encouraged to look at their areas of influence as being a spectator is no longer an option. Organisations have to manage their own evolution and move forward, as the cost of inaction is much higher than the cost of action.

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