Date posted: 14/05/2021

A future where purpose people and profit will go hand in hand

Making Global Goals Local Business (MGGLB) - Key takeaways for CAs

In brief

  • GCNA’s recent MGGLB forum drew on local and international discussions on sustainable recovery
  • clean energy creates three times as many jobs as fossil fuel sourced energy
  • As a CEO, communication with people is critical

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand recently attended the Global Compact Network Australia’s (GCNA) Making Business Goals Local Business (MGGLB) forum. The forum drew out local and international discussions around a sustainable recovery. 

The master of ceremonies for the MGGLB, Robin Mellon drove from Sydney to Melbourne in his electric vehicle, sharing his experience so far as inexpensive, low-emissions and maintainable. Delegates heard how leading businesses are shifting to become purposeful with a stakeholder view not just a shareholder view and becoming an attractive brand that the new generations want to engage with personally and professionally and the circular economy is now being seen as ‘sexy’!

The benefits of sustainable businesses

Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power, live from Italy and Ming Long FCA explored the value sustainability creates, with clean energy creating three times as many jobs as fossil fuel sourced energy.

The conversation also unpacked the ability for businesses to influence through procurement and the wider supply chain. Leadership and collaboration were also considered key to successfully creating a sustainable business.   Paul Polman, co-Founder and Chair, IMAGINE and former CEO of Unilever unpacked why business leadership is critical to driving change. 'Companies with sustainability at the core are performing 30% better than those which don't during the pandemic. Companies that will survive in the future will be thinking net positive - making the world a better place’.

Sustainability matters for small business too

Prioritising the SDGs for a sustainable recovery brought together Kate Carnell, Colleen Harris from Ramsay Health care and James Thornton CEO of Intrepid Group. James noted that 'As a CEO, communication with people is critical, if people don't hear from you, they will draw their own conclusions as to what is happening'. It is particularly important during times of crisis, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic to be open and transparent.   The innovator spotlight session highlighted that start-ups and small businesses are driven and motivated by purpose. The small business leaders felt it is ok to fail, sharing the importance of being open to challenges and failures. They noted that learning drives passion and resilience which often results in creating amazing things and whilst innovation is often seen as a game for the young, experience from older generations can have the same impact.

Companies with sustainability at the core are performing 30% better than those which don't during the pandemic

Takeaways for CAs

Our key takeaways for Chartered Accountants are:

  • Business as usual is no longer the future, sustainability is needed for survival
  • Creating a meaningful purpose for your business will attract talent with true passion 
  • Clean energy and the supportive technology will create more jobs and stimulus to the economy
  • Thinking about the circular economy, reusing, and recycling is important
  • Failure can stimulate change
  • SDGs are changing business for the better 
  • Building your business model around sustainability is fundamental but there aren’t enough stories to share 
  • Move from consultation to collaboration
  • Transparency and engagement are critical along the whole supply chain – you are only as strong as your supply chain.
  • Be willing to transition to processes which may make you less money in the short term but will be more sustainable in the long term.

Sustainability and non-financial reporting are you up to date? 

Read the January/February 2021 update.

Read update

The Future of non-financial reporting 

Join the discussion at the upcoming Accounting Conference on 18 May.

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