27 September 2017

New report sets the pathway for business sustainability

Global asset management company UBS recently published a white paper called ‘Business with impact’, suggesting corporations ways to incorporate sustainability targets to generate both financial and social returns.

According to the report published by UBS Wealth Management, businesses should be encouraged to establish partnerships with external shareholders and use outside expertise to overcome internal resource constraints.

With help from governmental development agencies and from consultancies, a company can enter emerging markets which usually offer opportunities for involvement in social and environmental projects, while providing new channels of commercial return.

It also sheds light to the importance of long-term thinking clients, stating that women and millennials will constitute key future actors.

UBS estimates that female customers in the US could inherit $7 in every 10$ that passes to the next generation over the next four decades, and almost 70 percent of them judge business success on social, political or environmental outcomes and not financial profits alone.

Millennials value in particular long-term financial and social returns and they want to use their wealth to positively contribute to society.

Unilever, having realised that long term investors have long-term business thinking and behaviour, has acknowledged that short-term financial pressures can distract from sustainability targets.

As a result, it ended earnings and quarterly reporting and focused instead on integrated reporting and matched executive pay to long-run performance.

Another way to achieve social impact is to extensively measure social and environmental opportunities and risks in supply chains, by collecting data on financial returns and societal benefits from the start.

An example is when one firm incorporated blockchain technology with supply chain analysis to identify areas across the holistic supply chain where investment would generate additional income as well as positive social and environmental outcomes.

The report also underlined that sharing best practise can have significant results, as it will raise awareness and it will help other companies to easily draw expert knowledge.

For example, the Malaysian Glove Corporation Bhd introduced an oral hygiene initiative to promote employee health and wellbeing while saving costs through minimising absenteeism.

The company expanded its initiative and included wider health monitoring, investment in sports facilities, and introduced food designed by nutritionists in company canteens.

Glove Corporation is sharing its best practice with various bodies, ranging from insurance companies to universities and the Malaysian Ministry of Health.

You can access the full ‘Business with Impact’ white paper here.  

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