For many companies, the most challenging aspect of the sustainable development agenda is incorporating sustainability into their short, medium and long-term strategic plans. Even those who have done so have so far focused primarily on managing risk rather than considering how their response to sustainable development issues might help them create more value.
However this is changing, with senior management in many companies now starting to focus on understanding how their response to issues like climate change, water scarcity, natural resource depletion, human rights, poverty and economic development may impact on their key strategic priorities.
The leaders are going even further, and are seeking to make sure that the strategy of their business is aligned with the actions that will be needed to deliver on the sustainable development agenda, both to reduce risk and to maximise long-term opportunities. Once there is agreement on how sustainability impacts core business strategy, then it is much easier to agree and act on the priority issues for the business, and to keep internal and external stakeholders fully engaged.
The sustainability-related issues which may impact on core business strategy include:
The impact that these issues may have on business strategy will be a function of the company's business sector and core business activities, the regions where they operate and the extent to which customers investors, suppliers, employees and regulators and competitors, as well as wider stakeholders and pressure groups, are putting pressure on the company to respond.
By combining our extensive knowledge and experience in advising on sustainable development issues with PwC's core business strategy, modelling and valuation expertise, we are able to support our clients to understand and evaluate the strategic sustainability issues for their business, to assess the business case and to develop and implement business strategies which have the response to sustainable development issues as a core component.