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Post-pandemic business transformation must prioritise sustainability

This coming decade will be the tipping point for business on many fronts. Lockdown has given us an opportunity to press reset on the way we work, and that includes our route to a sustainable future.

Grayling’s 2021 research* recently found that two thirds (63%) of senior European business decision leaders believe that businesses have a collective responsibility to the societies they operate in, alongside making a profit legally. One in eight (14%) say they feel pressure from customers, consumers or governments to move more quickly on ethical issues, such as sustainability, than is possible at the moment.

Grayling recently held a webinar on the future of business to discuss the New Collectivism. We discussed how organisations can move towards a future where their stakeholders, not profits, take priority. One of our panellists was Jamie Mitchell, founder of All Together, a pro bono advice service for CEOs. Mitchell is also Non-Executive Chairman of Rare Restaurants and Former Managing Director of drinks company, Innocent. He was also a contributor to the CBI’s new Seize the Moment report, which encourages businesses and government to work together to achieve net-zero.

New Collectivism and the green agenda

UK businesses, in particular, are in a great position to reboot the way they operate. Many have had to change some practices due to Brexit, and – in addition – a hybrid remote/office mix of work is set to become the norm. We are also seeing a greater focus on diversity and inclusion, which will help currently underrepresented groups.

And then there’s the environment. Businesses can lead in sustainability and move faster than government, setting an example that others will want to follow. Data also shows that people want to buy from ethical companies that share their values, especially around sustainability. Large companies like outdoors wear manufacturer Patagonia and Scottish brewer BrewDog have been vocal for some time on the importance operating sustainably.

Businesses of all sizes are looking at the trailblazers like Patagonia and BrewDog and asking themselves what they could do. In Seize the Moment, the CBI argues that, collectively, we missed the opportunity to come together and drive change after the economic crash of 2008. Now, it argues, by drawing the spirit of community and cooperation fostered during the pandemic, we can transform our economy and society. Decarbonising the economy is a key part of this.

Are you looking to transform your business and want to communicate your mission effectively both internally and externally? Read Grayling’s New Collectivism report here and please drop me an email if you would like help on how to communicate your transformation as we head into this pivotal decade.

*Study conducted of 500 senior business decision-makers in international businesses across micro (1-9 employees, small (10-49 employees), medium (50-249 employees) and large corporations (250+ employees). A field study conducted 3-8 Feb 2021 by Opinium Research.


Written by Tom Nutt, Head of Corporate, UK & Europe, for Grayling.