Many organisations are looking to improve the way in which they do business, including how to undertake sustainable investing. This approach is driven by increased demand for sustainable business practices from their customers, staff, community & investors.
Many organisations have responded by adding staff, strategies & reporting on sustainability, while others have engaged sustainable investment consultants to help them adjust to the increased community expectations and build better long-term value.
Sustainability can be a buzzword in business, but the best organisations are committed to sustainability as part of their environment, social and governance (ESG) approach.
In the corporate world specifically, good corporate social responsibility is when a company seeks to understand their impact, address their current social, environmental & economic practices and promises, and seeks out ways to increase and improve their efforts.
According to KPMG’s Survey of Sustainability Report for 2020, over 80% of large business in surveyed countries now report on sustainability, and around 40% of those surveyed acknowledge the financial risks of climate change. Research by The Guardian finds that consumers in Australia are seeking brands that are more environmentally & socially responsible.
Organisations are finding themselves in a crunch driven by shifting consumer expectations, and great accountability to their owners and investors on the performance of their organisation.
At its heart, sustainable investment is about investing in initiatives that provide a suitable return over time, while promoting long term social or environmental returns. It may also be known as impact investment in some quarters.
Examples of might include:
- Renewable energy projects
- Conservation projects
- Sustainable tourism developments
- Housing – especially affordable or housing for people who are at risk
The key aspect of sustainable or impact investment, is that there needs to be material & measurable social or environmental benefits alongside financial returns. This can also be known as the triple bottom line – an outcome that delivers for people, the planet and for profit.
Many organisations, often unintentionally, can create lasting brand & reputational damage by not exercising caution with their sustainability activities & investments.
This can be caused by poorly researched, and risk assessed investment, or organisations being inauthentic in their sustainability efforts.
This can also lead to allegations of ‘greenwashing’, where an organisation may be perceived to have claimed credit for activities that drive no real positive value or impact. The resulting brand and reputation damage can be impossible to repair.
Getting the right advice
Many organisations are seeking the advice of independent advisors or sustainable investing consultants who can provide the right brand, reputation & positive-outcome focused lens to help an organisation on its sustainability journey.
Consultants can either directly advise on a strategy, or ‘sense check’ and verify an existing strategy or approach – identifying opportunities to improve and enhance the impact of an organisation’s investments.
Seven Advisory provides a unique ESG advisory services to companies, investors and entrepreneurs developing their social license to deliver long-term value. Seven Advisory can advise you or your organisation on sustainable investing