Sustainability is increasingly occupying a central position in the development of business strategy. But success requires more than good intentions. Sustainable transformation may require sweeping changes to an organization’s business models, operations, financial practices, and partner ecosystems—an enterprise whose complexity goes beyond the knowledge an organization can maintain internally.
There is no single approach to sustainable transformation. A retailer and a cement company do not have the same needs or strategies. Even within an organization, each operation—risk and compliance, purchasing and supply chain, production and operations, marketing and sales—has its own goals to meet.
Meaningful transformation requires organizations to coordinate and implement measures across all business functions and across their entire value chain. They need to show proof points through concrete performance metrics. And they need to mobilize their workforce and business partners, applying corporate social responsibility policies that demonstrate an acceptable return on investment (ROI).
But as sustainability issues become increasingly complex and require more and more expert knowledge and the collaboration of many stakeholders, a stand-alone approach may not produce optimal results. A strong partnership with an expert consultant can bring invaluable environmental, operational and financial expertise to help create and execute a strategy that pays real dividends for the company, its stakeholders and the planet.
Here’s how some leading organizations are leveraging that experience to manage complex change.
Establish a sustainability roadmap
Saur, based in France, is a leading service provider to the global water sector with the ambition to ensure that industries, individuals, governments, non-governmental organizations and civil society appreciate the value of water and use this precious resource accordingly.
Setting a core ambition with a conservation mindset does not in itself generate sustainable transformation. Saur partnered with technology and management consultancy BearingPoint to gain industry and value chain expertise to help strengthen its sustainability strategy and roadmap.
BearingPoint helped Saur develop a “sustainable development roadmap” establish and meet environmental and financial objectives as tangible as preserving annual water use equivalent to that of a city of 100,000 inhabitants; build two strategic partnerships and execute a buyout to support the water and energy transition; and the signing of power purchase agreements for 40 GWh in hydroelectricity and 100 GWh in solar energy to achieve 100% green electricity.
By implementing these ambitious yet tangible KPIs, Saur raised 950 million euros in 2021 ($1 billion) in environmental, social and governance bonds, the first water company to reach that benchmark.
Industry and Ecosystem Transformations
To succeed in sustainability, organizations must lead transformation across all business functions and across the value chain and show their proof points through meaningful performance metrics.
Among all industries, the cement sector is the second largest industrial carbon emitter and the third largest industrial consumer of energy. ADEMEthe French Agency for the Ecological Transition and the CDPA leading non-profit organization that helps companies and cities disclose their environmental impact, has been collaborating since 2015 on ACT, a methodology to assess companies’ climate strategy and their readiness to adapt to a low-carbon economy.
ADEME and CDP partnered with BearingPoint’s sustainability consultancy, It matters to me by BearingPoint, in a report 2020 apply this framework to the carbon-intensive cement sector. This hands-on testing exercise highlighted that while cement companies are committed to ambitious carbon targets and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, these targets have not been translated into practical investment plans, disruptive research and development, or comprehensive management of its carbon footprint from the purchase of clinker for the production, distribution and use of cement.
The report’s conclusions, while challenging, helped ADEME and CDP provide industry leaders with clear guidance, measurement methodologies, and planning tools to turn a high-level transition strategy into pragmatic actions that could help them show ROI. as they realize their low carbon ambitions. .
Sustainable supply chains
Mature organizations, with sustainability at the core of their business model, are also demonstrating the need to connect even stronger environmental policies with their financial strategy. Since entering the consumer car market more than a decade ago, Polestar has branded itself as a producer of low-carbon and green electric vehicles. To strengthen its commitment to carbon reduction, the company recently integrated sustainability management throughout its global procurement process.
Incorporating BearingPoint’s environmental and supply chain expertise, Polestar has developed a comprehensive roadmap to integrate more than 100 detailed initiatives with clear actions and recommendations for environmental best practices to help you identify prerequisites, set timelines, and designate teams to support your initiatives. Polestar uses this roadmap to assess the performance of its suppliers and drive greener practices throughout its supply chains.
Financial and environmental experience
Forward-thinking organizations view sustainability goals as a smart business practice that can help future-proof growth, save money, increase investor confidence, and spur innovation and competitiveness. And beyond the value it can bring to a company’s shareholders, community, and planet, a sustainability strategy can also attract and retain talent, partners, and customers.
Whether you approach sustainable transformation through the lens of production processes, supply chain operations, sales and marketing, IT and data systems, or any other business, meaningful change cannot take place in a vacuum. End-to-end end-to-end change across organizations, processes, and partnerships requires careful collaboration to access the right expertise to initiate the transformation and help it grow.
Learn more about how partnering with BearingPoint can help your organization connect your sustainability goals with your business performance.
BearingPoint, a management and technology consultancy, provides industry and value chain expertise to transform businesses. With its acquisition of I Care in 2022, BearingPoint supports organizations in planning and achieving ambitious sustainability roadmaps from strategy to delivery.