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Business Sustainability

Business Sustainability, Fairness and Nature – or “The Greening of Finance”

Sit back with a cuppa, maybe a mince pie, and enjoy this article over your festive break!

When I was a schoolboy back in the 70s I visited the Centre for Alternative Energy in Wales – and was enthralled and intrigued in equal measure by the future of climate change, energy use and sustainability they envisaged.   I’ve been a supporter and frequent visitor ever since.   If you haven’t already, check out www.cat.org.uk.  Incidentally, it makes a great place for a family day out or to attend a short course.

Of course, CAT’s sustainability, environmentally friendly, solar and wind power ideas were radical back then and were pooh-poohed as unworkable.  But now they are seen as mainstream and very attainable.  The 2020-30 decade will inevitably be known as the Covid-19 years but they also mark the point when sustainability became mainstream.   So far we’ve had the Earthshot prize and USA President Biden and Chinese President Jinping, amongst 120 other world leaders, standing up for Nature at COP26.  (Although some world leaders were too worried about their domestic agenda to commit to major changes.)

People Sustainability

Sustainability is actually a big issue.  Climate change and environmental sustainability are now an obviously important part.  But so is fairness.  In other words: People Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusion.  Lives Matter! We have had laws in the workplace surrounding the fairness of accepting diversity, inclusion and not discriminating in the workplace for years.  Although measurements like the gender pay gap and the number of minimum wage infractions show fairness is still a patchy thing.  The point is, what was acceptable even 10 years ago isn’t any more.  Business has to step up and lead the way.

Business Sustainability

Now I think the question has moved on to business sustainability; ie, the detail of how each business across the UK plays their part – and for the larger businesses, reporting on those measures that are fast becoming Sustainability Reporting Standards, ie mandatory climate-related financial disclosure.  No longer relegated to the slightly fluffy CSR (corporate social responsibility) section of a website, now financial reporting is getting in on the sustainability act.  Which will inevitably mean bigger businesses will be asking smaller business they buy from to provide this information.

What you can do…

As with most things, the first step is to perform some sort of sustainability audit.

  • What is your carbon footprint and then how can you reduce, reuse and recyle?  Sometimes simply investing in modern light fittings can make a huge reduction to your energy bills.
  • If you haven’t already, think about micro-generation, or installing solar panels or turbines to power your business.     
  • But it’s not just you – ask similar questions of your supply chain and then use that information to choose greener alternatives where you need to. 
  • As ever, shop small and shop local to benefit your local economy. 
  • Review and rank your people diversity and inclusion and your gender pay gap. 
  • Consider how staff training can not only benefit your business but level up opportunities for your team.
  • What is your gender pay gap?How diverse and inclusive is your work force?

Interestingly, better-quality information means better-quality business.  That is to say, the result of sustainability reporting is often setting rules for better decision making.  

What does this mean for your business sustainability, your business model and your prosperity?  Interesting to try to find out, isn’t it?  After all, finance really is slowing becoming green too!  Book a chat in the new year, and let’s discuss it from your point of view…

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