Leverage sustainability plan for business growth
- A company’s effect on the environment and society has steadily gained ground over the years as institutions become more aware of their influence.
- For many years, sustainability initiatives have been a secondary priority for most companies.
- Companies must integrate social, economic and environmental considerations into their strategies, as they play a vital role in organizational decision-making.
History notes that there have always been people who have shown concern for the future of mankind. Their concerns have focused on the impact of human activities on society, the economy and the environment in which they live.
Today, this concern has changed; and companies are constantly reviewing their impact on these three critical components.
A company’s effect on the environment and society has steadily gained ground over the years, with institutions becoming more aware of their influence and becoming more intentional to have a positive impact. Businesses today are expected to make profits and be deliberate to contribute to the common good.
Notably, a considerable number of investors today look at factors such as a company’s carbon footprint, water use, community development efforts and board diversity programs before investing. invest in companies.
They use environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics to analyze the ethical impact and sustainability practices of an organization. With these developments, it is evident that the focus on sustainability in business is stronger today than it was yesterday.
For many years, sustainability initiatives have been a secondary priority for most companies. The scale shifted, however, after countries around the world signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, prioritizing sustainability issues.
Since then, progress has been made in sustainability efforts within organizations. However, for these efforts to be embedded in organizations, there should be a deliberate movement to establish a sustainable culture.
One of the simple ways to do this is to introduce effective employee strategies that involve smaller sustainable goals such as recycling, energy saving, water conservation and tree planting activities. company trees.
At the corporate level, however, the ball game needs to change, with the focus shifting to a more strategic direction. Companies must integrate social, economic and environmental considerations into their strategies, as they play a critical role in informing organizational decisions for growth and posterity.
In this way, institutions are also able to catalyze change while creating value through increased sales, decreased costs and reduced risk. Even better, the best of these companies create financial value in a way the market already values growth, return on capital, risk management and quality management.
When it comes to growth, a company’s environmental, social and economic program can help create new markets by facilitating exposure, addressing social needs and increasing product differentiation.
Such programs can also catalyze advanced technology accompanied by innovative products and services. This can influence greater brand loyalty, improve the reputation of the organization while gaining goodwill from stakeholders.
Organizations leverage these programs to establish their presence in markets, start businesses and also support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Stanbic Bank Kenya has been at the forefront of influencing economic change by developing commercially viable ways to address environmental and social challenges, accelerating economic growth, human development and improving the lives of communities.
In partnership with Microsoft Kenya and the Ministry of Trade and Industrialization, the Stanbic Kenya Foundation supports MSMEs by building their capacity and equipping them with digital skills through their FutureNiDigital campaign.
So far, more than 21,000 SMEs and individuals have benefited from the programs and are able to better position their businesses in a digital world.
This was achieved through the bank’s seven social, economic and environmental impact areas focused on financial inclusion, job creation and enterprise development, infrastructure, trade and investment, change climate change and sustainable finance, education and health.
As evidenced in the 2020 Society Report, Stanbic Bank boosted economic activities during the nationwide lockdown by rolling out improved digital channels, restructuring debt, providing paid leave and waiving interest on money transfers mobile, among others.
Legitimacy to operate
As we continue to have discussions about the social impact of organizations, it is also important to mention that companies need broad legitimacy in the societies in which they operate, if they are to maintain their long-term ability to create shareholder value.
This legitimacy is reinforced by the social, economic and environmental support offered by companies.
At the same time, society depends on big business to provide economic benefits, and this is the type of relationship that forms the basis of an overall contract between business and society, as the two have a symbiotic relationship.
It is therefore essential for companies to strengthen sustainability and good relations for the good of society, because the two go hand in hand.
Mr. Mucai is the head of rsk and chairman of SEE Agenda Stanbic Bank Kenya