CEO Today - September 2023 Edition

to the regulatory changes that are coming down the line, but also the risk to their corporate reputation, as customers are increasingly choosing to buy from businesses that share their values – i.e., businesses that are more sustainable and actively taking responsibility for the health and wellbeing of the planet. However, business leaders should be aware that implementing new technology could bring challenges. For example, it could mean current assets quickly become obsolete, and there should be a strategy in place to ensure that these aren’t simply abandoned, thrown away or sent to landfill – undermining the purpose of the replacement. Equally, switching out a supplier or source could not only bring risks to the product and supply chain, but also the divested businesses and communities that may have relied on the income – for example, if the company is based in a lowcost country (LCC). These risks demonstrate the responsibility that a business has not only to its employees and customers as it pursues a decarbonisation strategy, but also the wider communities that are directly or indirectly linked to it. With new sustainable technologies and low-carbon materials coming to market all the time, business leaders need to stay abreast of what is available, so they can implement changes that will reduce their carbon footprint and deliver a competitive advantage. When building a business case for such investments, they should look beyond customer relationships and cost reduction opportunities. As many workers now seek out opportunities to work with employers that are socially and environmentally responsible, delivering against decarbonisation goals could also help businesses to attract and retain talented people. To ensure that decarbonisation strategies remain at the top of every business’ agenda, business leaders should ensure that decarbonisation related KPIs carry the same weight in terms of importance and scrutiny as financial KPIs. Performance against them should be included in all toplevel reporting, along with cash, profit margin, market share and other business critical information. However, it is equally important for business leaders to understand that they are not undertaking these challenges alone. There is a wealth of industry-specific experience and innovation to draw down and experiences are being shared more openly. As the regulatory push to decarbonise intensifies, it will become even more important that businesses share best practice and new ways of working with competitors, industry bodies and suppliers; collaborating to achieve a common goal. By gaining a detailed understanding of their organisation’s carbon footprint and placing decarbonisation strategies at the top of the corporate agenda, business leaders and boardroom decision-makers will ensure they are ‘lived’ by every function of the business and employees at every level. By sharing and collaborating on best-practice principles, and seeking external consultation where appropriate, businesses and sectors will quickly discover that they are much stronger together; making net-zero attainable for all. Alessandra Del Centina, managing consultant at management consultancy, Vendigital. “The most important step is to gain a holistic understanding of the business’ carbon footprint, including its Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions data.”

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy Mjk3Mzkz