Is 2019 going to be “The Year of Sustainability”? Greatly empowered by technology? With exciting innovation on the business front? One European-based writer (Carmen Ene, CEO of 3 STEP IT in Helsinki, Finland) thinks so. Writing for Sustainable Brands® SB/The Bridge to Better Brands, she outlines what she sees as the top sustainability issues for corporate leaders in 2019 — and offers advice on how to address them.
Consider her view: Companies can take better control of their sustainability strategies and publicly acknowledge the top issues they could be facing in this year. Data-driven metrics can help here (“Big Data” analytics help in planning and strategy-setting at the top, for example). The rate of adoption of sustainable practices has been picking up in recent years but in 2019, we can expect to see significant change in business leaders’ behavior toward sustainability efforts.
As the universe of third party ESG data and analytics providers continue to expand their efforts to tell a story about the ESG activities of public companies, without active control of the narration, corporate executives may see various independent narratives (presented by the third parties) that are not favorable portrayals of the company and its ESG activities.
Innovation in technology is empowering businesses to utilize tech solutions to keep up with society’s changing demand (think about the Internet of Things and Blockchain examples).
Artificial intelligence and blockchain are some approaches to be explored, says the writer. Naturally, as a seasoned IT professional, Carmen Ene sees innovation in tech as important means for leaders to keep up with meeting investor, customer and stakeholder needs.
Consumer behavior is something smart businesses always deal with. And so, dealing with the prevalent “throwaway culture” for producers of IT hardware — think about the waste and need for recycling of electronic goods — will certainly present growing challenges. (China recently curtailed treatment of E waste from other nations, presenting real challenges for civil government leaders in the USA at the community level.)
As the “digital world” continues to expand (think: ever-increasing access to information via newly-acquired hardware), the cast-off waste and E-detritus continues to build worldwide.
That requires smart approaches by electronics manufacturers and others to develop more effective waste and recycling efforts — which for industry players means (the author advises) better management of hardware, improved purchasing decisions and focus on reduction.
More effective IT lifecycle management is one approach being adopted by companies, says Carmen Ene — and that is the focus of her company’s efforts.
Changing regulations will pose challenges for businesses — worldwide, more regulations are being put in place to address environmental issues such as those posed by plastic waste and increasing GHG emissions. Local and national governments are putting sustainability goals in place (the UN SDGs are a driver) with both voluntary and mandatory guidelines. The almost 200 nations signing on to the Paris Agreement are busily coming up with “solutions” to environmental issues at home.
A key takeaway from her commentary: business has a real need to act responsibly as a key aspect of corporate strategy. Technology does help to drive change (sometimes very rapidly and causing disruption in many instances), and technology properly deployed can help to drive sustainability practices — creating still more innovation in sustainability strategy and efforts. Business offerings can be made more sustainable and ethical for the future – with the help of technology.
We’re presenting interesting reading for you from this author in our Top Story this week. Carmen Ene joined 3 STEP IT as CEO in 2015; the company’s mission is “to enable the most advanced IT life cycle management while striving to make the circular economy a reality.” She previously held senior management positions at IBM.
The publication is from Sustainable Brands (SB), the premier global community of brand innovators “shaping the future of commerce worldwide.” SB positions itself as a bridge between brand innovators across all circles, acting as a catalyst for intelligent discourse. G&A Institute collaborates with SB in sharing information of value to our connections and promoting visibility for the fabulous Sustainable Brands conferences.
3 Top Sustainability Issues in 2019 and How to Address Them
(Monday – January 14, 2019) Source: Sustainable Brands – Once seen as a ‘nice to have’ for businesses, sustainability has become a vital component of many global organisations’ social and economic strategies.