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Sustainability

Sirocco sustainabilityOrganisations all around the world are being challenged to improve governance, transparency, and contribute more substantially to the societies of which they are part. Most organisations of any stature have given attention to all three elements of the Triple Bottom Line (Financial, Social and Environmental) but until relatively recently most only paid serious attention to the financial sustainability of the business.

However, societies the world over are becoming more and more demanding of organisations and their financial, social and environmental impact, and thus it has become almost mandatory for organisations to report on their activities across all three elements. Very few organisations accord all three the same importance and virtually none integrate the three in a manner that ensures their incorporation into the overall strategy and life of the business.

In South Africa, King III advocates that all companies produce an 'integrated report' that records how the company has impacted on the social and economic life of the community. Companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) are required to produce such a report. As King III now falls within the listing requirements of the JSE, listed companies have to produce a sustainability performance report in addition to their annual financial statements - or explain why they are not.

Building the Brand from within

Branding your organisation isn't simply a matter of harnessing a million Rand advertising budget - anyone can do that. Rather, it's a matter of corporate reputation, in which every positive action that the company and its people make establishes trust, credibility and support among its customers and clients. Those people talk to their friends, who in turn talk to their friends – and all of a sudden, word-of-mouth has created your organisation’s brand, without you spending a cent.

So how do you build your corporate reputation? Typical marketing activities certainly play a role, as does the overall strength and quality of the services or product that you deliver. But you also have another indispensable asset: your own staff. Building a corporate reputation and powerful brand in the marketplace begins right at home.

Does each one of your people understand your value proposition? Does your team know what differentiates your company from your competitors? Do they understand your vision for the future? If asked, would they all give the same answer? And is it the answer you want to hear?

Sirocco Sustainable Solutions works to help you and your people formulate the answers to the above questions, and others, and then puts strategies and tactics in place to help your brand come alive from within. It is the Sirocco view that you build the brand from the inside out! It starts with the people inside the organisation and is based on the agreed critical corporate values. Critical to each step is the emphasis on values-based good governance.

Governance

Governance is about separating the ownership and management of stakeholder and shareholder interests.

Sound governance will be achieved when assurance is provided to stakeholders and shareholders by the custodians of such interest, that their abilities (resources, time and efforts) will be applied in such a manner that objectives are achieved effectively, efficiently and within an agreed ethical environment. This also needs to be done with due consideration of the social, economic and environmental implications that may also be relevant.

Sirocco Sustainable Solutions is integrally involved with The Governance Network to assist organisations understand and implement good governance practices.

What you can do

Climate change is arguably the most important challenge of the 21st Century and no place or person on earth is immune.

Achieving sustainability for the planet - the only home we know - will need the wholehearted and concerted commitment of everyone, from governments in large cities to individuals in the most rural of places.

There is much talk about the Triple Bottom Line for businesses and organisations around the world. However the principles involved apply to all of us. In simple terms the Triple Bottom Line requires organisations to be honest, to work hard, and to produce a good result, to care for the environment and to care for the society of which they are part. If we all applied these same principles to the way we live our lives there is little doubt that the world would be a better place and would not be as at risk as it is now.

Here are some ideas for all of us that will help make our planet healthier:

Governments
  • Make the climate a top priority.
  • Provide significant sustainability incentives to all layers of society, but particularly to business.
  • Provide top quality, accessible, convenient, affordable, safe, energy-efficient mass transportation.
  • Discourage the use of fossil fuel driven vehicles.
  • Incentivise the use of solar thermal power.
  • Encourage effective water management.
  • Incentivise rain water harvesting.
  • Incentivise more sustainable farming methods.
  • Remove subsidies and taxes that encourage or support unsustainable practices.
  • Incentivise recycling of all waste.
  • Collaborate and help other nations to agree to sustainability targets that are good for all.

 

Companies
  • Measure your environmental footprint to establish your base line.
  • Agree some targets based on established benchmarks.
  • Reduce water usage, harvest rain water and recycle grey water.
  • Reduce energy usage and dependence on fossil fuels.
  • Introduce the use of sustainable sources of energy.
  • Collaborate with other companies.
  • Educate your workforce.
  • Recycle all waste.
  • Encourage your staff to implement eco-friendly practices at home.

 

Individuals
  • Measure your ecofootprint, set some targets to reduce this.
  • Avoid driving, rather walk or cycle.
  • Use mass transportation whenever possible.
  • Install solar heating.
  • Harvest rain water and recycle grey water.
  • Recycle everything.
  • Use only ecofriendly light bulbs.
  • Plant only indigenous plants.