Your expert for questions
Partner at PwC Germany
Tel: +49 89 5790-5467
Sustainability is a highly relevant topic with a substantial impact on businesses and their stakeholders. Stronger consideration of sustainability in society, economy and environment has led to a major rise in responsible investments. More and more governments and institutions are pledging to back a United Nations campaign aiming for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, thereby affecting how companies do business.
Being a sustainable company means to understand and actively manage the environmental, social and governance ("ESG") impact along your value chain, and ensuring that your company's business model will remain viable in the future. The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals provide a framework and guidance for this. Companies need to focus on those aspects which are most important to them.
"As far as sustainability is concerned, many companies still rely too heavily on regulatory compliance. This aspect is certainly vital to keeping a licence to operate. But it's important to move beyond: integrating sustainability into a company's strategy, operating model and day-to-day processes makes it possible to unleash the full potential that sustainability offers for value creation. That's why sustainability should be discussed in the boardroom of every company."
It takes a holistic approach to integrate sustainability within all aspects of a business – and a tailored strategy for every company. Companies currently find themselves at completely different points along their ESG transformation journey, dealing with manifold issues and challenges. But they all have one thing in common: to successfully transform themselves into a sustainable company requires a holistic approach to their strategy, operating model and management system. In addition, companies need to focus on a set of functional aspects depending on their strategic agenda.
Your sustainability agenda must not be isolated from your business agenda: your corporate and business strategy should be closely interwoven with your sustainability strategy. Place a clear focus around a selected set of highly relevant impact areas – leveraging the SDGs – and describe how your focus areas create value - for you and for your stakeholders. Three things form the foundation for setting priorities, laying out a clear roadmap and communication within your company and to outside stakeholders:
So you have set out your strategic agenda. But how do you translate it in concrete steps for implementation, integrating it into your day-to-day activities? That's a practical challenge many companies are struggling with. Sustainability has to be embedded within an existing organisational structure. For instance, the board could form a sustainability committee, or another body with respective focus. To measure and steer progress, existing processes and metrics systems can be used or new ones need to be established. Efforts to accomplish sustainability goals must be evident within the organisation and translated into performance targets and incentive systems for (senior) executives. You can also leverage your corporate culture and implement sustainability into your framework for employees, processes, risks and technologies.
You need to be able to demonstrate the credibility of your sustainability agenda and your progress with reliable, consistent and meaningful data. Investors and other stakeholder groups are increasingly calling on companies to provide such data, and are assessing that data with an increasingly critical eye. The right non-financial indicators need to be selected to serve as a basis for regular assessment and effective steering and reporting on the sustainability agenda, and the quality of the data behind those indicators needs to be improved through internal controls and standardised processes, and integrated into dashboards. These elements form the basis for consistent, trustworthy and authentic communication with the relevant stakeholders. Learn more
Our sustainable transformation experts can help you keep your eyes on the road during your journey. We offer advice on all aspects of your transformation. We base that advice on our comprehensive expertise and many years of experience, client references and leading tools.
We will help you make the right decisions and position you for a future as a sustainable company.
As your partner, we can help you ...
We will assist you in implementing your sustainability goals in your day-to-day processes.
As your partner, we can help you …
We will help you steer the impacts of your business activities.
As your partner, we can help you …
We will leverage our comprehensive experience and expertise, our industry know-how and leading tools to help you transform your company into a sustainable enterprise. That's sustainable impact made real – from strategy to implementation.
"Companies need to develop a holistic sustainability strategy that focuses on the relevant action areas – i.e., those which the stakeholders consider material – and defines clear strategic objectives. These need to be incorporated within the corporate strategy, backed up by concrete actions and made operational."