For 20 years, we’ve helped our clients develop robust and enduring sustainability strategies. Leading companies view corporate responsibility strategy as an essential element of planning for business growth. For them, effective sustainability is a source of innovation and new revenues, cost savings, stronger brands and lower risks.
Every client is unique. Strategy development typically involves a combination of the following elements:
- Where are we now? The most effective corporate responsibility and sustainability strategy begins with a clear assessment of the current state of the business. Our internal audit service is tailored to your business priorities and provides a baseline for future development.
- Where do we want to be? The Corporate Citizenship Benchmarking Service provides key insights into best practice amongst peer group companies. Our bespoke Sustainability Plans assessment methodology is designed to challenge and inspire through comparison with world-class strategies.
- What does the future hold? Our futures programme can help to identify the risks and opportunities facing the business over the coming years, for example through scenario planning. By testing against long-term trends, an evolving strategy can be made more robust to help ensure the company can thrive, whatever the future holds.
- What do stakeholders expect? We stress test a strategy against stakeholder expectations through interviews, workshops, online surveys and desk research. Expert input can provide challenge, fresh ideas and a better understanding of how any strategy might be received.
- What really matters to the business? Corporate Citizenship’s Materiality approach engages with internal stakeholders to identify the issues that matter most to your business. We believe that sustainability should be an integral component of an effective strategy for long-term commercial success.
- What should we include in the strategy? From expressing your purpose and crafting a mission statement through to setting clear goals, we work both to develop your sustainability strategy and express it clearly.
- How will we implement it? We provide clear, practical and realistic guidance on embedding your strategy within the business, adjusting organizational structures and resources and identifying targets and KPIs.
- Who should we tell about it? We identify and engage specialist audiences, such as key opinion formers, with your new strategy – gaining feedback, responding to their issues and building advocates for the company.
Our work on Sustainability Plans with companies like Unilever can help to drive innovation, realise cost savings, reduce risks and build brand value. Our Sustainability Plans assessment methodology helps identify the level of ambition, spot new trends in the market and provide fresh ideas to include in any Plan.
Increasingly, many of our clients are looking to integrate sustainability right across their businesses. As a result, we are starting to see how commercial strategy development and sustainability can go hand-in-hand. This is an exciting new area that we call Growth Plans – resilient and responsible strategies for commercial success.
We know that making the case internally can be part of the challenge for some companies. Our experience has taught us that focusing attention in the following key areas can increase success:
- The Context – understanding the current and future operating environment for the business, including long-term trends, potential new business models and specialist audiences who might help or hinder achieving your goals.
- Metrics – bringing together the measurement of financial, environmental, social and economic values is a cutting-edge field that we are helping to pioneer through our expertise in
- Language – the words that are used say so much about strategic intent. In the coming years, we believe that the most pioneering companies in this field will talk and demonstrate success in areas like business resilience, new revenues, impact and cost savings – not the old language of philanthropy and corporate responsibility. Mentoring by those who have been through this process many times before is just one way that we are helping our clients to measure, manage and explain their Growth Plans.
Inclusive Business means embracing innovative business models that generate profit for the company while at the same time contributing positively to society. In particular, Inclusive Business refers to profitable core business activity that expands opportunities for marginalised and disadvantaged groups in the society, with a focus on under-served markets. These business models include the marginalised as customers, suppliers, distributors and employees. Best practice examples include companies introducing smallholder sourcing models; innovating products and services targeting low-income customers; and developing innovative distribution models.
When companies get it right, Inclusive Business can be a successful growth strategy – opening up new markets, improving efficiencies, increasing resilience and enhancing reputation. We believe that Inclusive Business is the next frontier and the way forward for businesses looking to take corporate sustainability to the next level.
To speak to one of the team about how we can help you with your Strategy needs please get in touch via email, or call us directly on +44 (0)20 7861 1616