Integrating sustainability into organisational frameworks has dominated the corporate agenda in recent years. With increasing awareness regarding its impact on company culture and long-term value, businesses are now prioritising sustainability initiatives to strengthen their stakeholder relationships, and enhance resilience in the face of business and economic uncertainties.
Channel companies are increasingly embracing sustainability goals as it offers a clear path to remain resilient and enables them to play a role in holistically protecting the planet, their people and partners. As organisations continue to develop measures to reduce their carbon footprint, they must consider the wider impact of their sustainability initiatives and how to best harness them, in order to optimise their company culture and performance in the long term.
Fostering culture and business growth
The importance of ESG in the Technology Channel goes further than corporate social responsibility and has transformed into a strategic imperative for companies to grow and remain competitive. In fact, a recent study by the Channel Industry Forum (CIF) reveals that a third of customers would walk away from a Channel partner if it had a poor sustainability strategy. As a result, companies are beginning to place these goals at the heart of their operational framework to affirm themselves as integral leaders in the sustainability movement.
Weaving ESG into the fabric of an organisation’s culture can help balance people, culture, and purpose. By prioritising sustainability strategies, Channel businesses can benefit from improved flexibility, better capabilities and the ability to benchmark performance. It also bolsters effective engagement with employees, allowing them to attract new talent and retain existing employees.
Developing a clear sustainable outlook is key to unlocking new talent. According to a 2022 report by PwC, 65% of job seekers target organisations which put sustainability into practice. With increasing interest in sustainable employers, Channel businesses must adapt to the demands of the next generation and the future outlook of the sector.
By aligning their sustainability principles, businesses can tap into a growing pool of responsible investors whose mission it is to make positive environmental and social impacts. This in turn leads to improved access to capital, lower borrowing costs and enhanced reputation among investors who wish to align with Channel brands that pride themselves on having a robust sustainability strategy.
Best practices for Channel companies
In today’s market, sustainability initiatives must be at the centre of an organisation’s structure, strategy and systems, in a coordinated and integrated manner. For instance, businesses can work towards achieving their net zero targets by mapping potential ESG issues, thereby allowing them to prioritise initiatives based on their importance and level of impact. Utilising sustainability reporting, metrics and robust frameworks to disclose carbon emissions can also help Channel organisations to minimise risk and improve their corporate reputation.
Establishing a reliable sustainability team that can introduce new methods and best practices is key to supporting ESG maturity and integrating it across all levels of the organisation. By developing relationships with external stakeholders and advisors, the community and the government, they will be able to better implement the financial, legal, and cultural aspects of ESG strategies. Additionally, these teams can help support the development of sustainability initiatives across the company and demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to ESG to current and prospective employees.
It’s recommended that Channel companies start small and grow their transformation one step at a time. Initiating quick, low-cost and high-visibility initiatives, such as introducing a single-use plastic free-zone or environmentally-friendly materials and resources in work spaces, is both easy to implement and has a profound impact on the way employees and clients see the company.
Leveraging ESG to shape the future
Embracing initiatives that align Channel companies with global sustainability objectives and sets them up for success in a world where environmental and social challenges continue to persist.
Businesses in the Channel can play a key role in minimising energy consumption in warehouses and offices which can significantly reduce their carbon footprint, and increase cost savings, meaning funds can be better spent on other sustainability-related initiatives.
Evolving technology has also contributed to the development of ESG strategies with AI playing a pivotal role in the efforts to reach net zero. Additionally, organisations can leverage automation to streamline sustainability processes in order to maximise efficiency – ensuring consistency across all levels, processes, systems and people.
It is clear that sustainability will continue to play a crucial role in developing the culture and strategy of organisations across the Channel. With consumers and investors driving the demand for ESG focused programmes – Channel organisations are perfectly positioned to ensure a holistic, consistent and market-wide approach.