strategic sustainability in Europe

June 06, 2022, Stockholm. It has been 50 years since the first UN global environmental conference started in Stockholm with the outcome “A common outlook and common principles to inspire and guide the peoples of the world in the preservation and enhancement of the human environment”. Since then, numerous Earth summits have taken place, resulting in landmark reports, treaties, and protocols, followed by strategic decisions that paved the way for global awareness and environmental development. 

Despite these efforts and objectives, humanity’s negative impact on the world and society is accelerating. To redirect negative trends toward an environment that can continue to support well-being and life on earth would require a whole-system thinking approach, big and practical ambitions, and transformation of corporate processes. First, we need inspired, bold, strategic sustainable leadership. 

To know more about the mindsets and the current scenario of sustainability awareness in today’s organizations, SGA conducted a study with over 50+ companies from 12 European countries across multiple industries. The study highlights that growing pressure reveals the need for a strategic sustainability framework, bold leadership and an integrated way forward is the need of the hour. 

Recently, the Stockholm+50 conference took place, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the UN global environmental conference. Richard Blume – Senior sustainability strategist at The Sustainability Collaborative, our Swedish partner within The Natural Step network talked about the results of this study at the event. The results of the same study have also been presented by our associates at Catolica University’s INSURE HUB at Porto, Portugal. 

This study as conducted by SGA, indicates the following results: 

  • Sustainability is on top of everyone’s agenda. Increasing demands from stakeholders and the expectation to deal with various initiatives put growing pressure on business leaders to define a clear strategy forward.  
  • The study reveals the need for a general strategic sustainability framework: only 40% of participants report to have a shared understanding of sustainability, just 24% have defined long-term sustainability goals.  
  • The sustainability maturity level of individual companies varies widely. While only 10% of participants claim to be leading their industry today, all companies show high ambitions to boost sustainable value creation within the next 5 to 7 years.  
  • Bold leadership is essential to deal successfully with drivers and obstacles towards sustainability, a strategic framework based on science-based principles is key for catalyzing direction-setting, alignment, and commitment.  
  • The way forward: 7 key recommendations can be derived to master the transformation towards economic success with the socio-ecological limitations. 

A shared understanding of systemic value growth, bold leadership, and implementation of science-based principles at the organizational level, will be instrumental in helping move forward towards a sustainable future for the planet. For more details, refer to the study here which includes the 7 key outcomes and recommendations. 

“Define where we need to be, assess our gap, come up with a creative process to bridge the gap, and then work very much from a decision-making perspective to prioritize actions and have the principles as criteria to check that we are really moving in the right direction” – Richard Blume at We Don’t Have Time 5-6-2022. . 

All individuals and organizations will have to play their part, and especially businesses have a role in accelerating sustainable development, each addressing their most relevant negative impacts and leveraging their truly sustainable innovations. By addressing their most relevant negative impacts and leveraging their truly sustainable innovations, businesses can accelerate towards systemic growth without compromising the natural systems we depend upon. At SGA we enable businesses to leverage sustainability for systemic value growth using a science-based approach to socio-ecological sustainability.  

 Get inspired by our study by clicking here. 

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