PURPLE IVY LAUNCHES ITS SURVEY OF 20 SUSTAINABILITY LEADERS IN SWEDEN AND HOW THEY INTEGRATE SUSTAINABILITY INTO THEIR BUSINESS.
Scania, Electrolux, Vattenfall, Husqvarna Group, Epiroc and Swedbank were among the 20 companies, including five state-owned companies, that took part in Purple IVY’s survey: The State of Integration.
The Purple IVY report explores the barriers companies are facing and the success factors they pinpoint as necessary for deep integration. The purpose of the survey is to enable a discussion among business people on what needs to be in place to achieve even greater impact.
“While all our respondents tell us that integration is among the top priorities for them, no company journey was like the other,” Eva Normell of Purple IVY says. “The way they measure their progress varied considerably.”
Insights from 20 companies
Our research is a reflection of conversations with some 20 leading Swedish companies. Well under half of the respondents indicated that sustainability was deeply integrated in their business strategy
Key take-aways include.
Most respondents cited that top management played a crucial role in achieving the right level of ambition and commitment.
Less than a quarter of the respondents stated that they work actively to build awareness and raise competence levels among top management
Just over half of the respondents had defined transformational targets.
An important conclusion in the report is the disconnect between a heavy reliance on the top management to set the tone and ambition for their sustainability commitment. At the same time top management are often not given the tools to understand the sustainability context.
“Only four respondents said that they make concerted efforts to raise their leadership teams’ knowledge of the agenda,” Eva Normell commented. “This is clearly a pitfall. With a lack of understanding of what is at stake, the real purpose of sustainability becomes confused—sustainability is seen through the eyes of business interests instead of the role business has as a change agent. Not addressing this conflict could jeopardize both credibility and impact.”
About Purple IVY: A Stockholm-based consultancy, Purple IVY helps future-proof companies and their business models. It leverages strategy, as well as sustainability know-how, management system, communications and impact expertise to integrate sustainability priorities deeper into the business.
Christina Ameln joins the Purple IVY team, adding her insights to the company’s expertise within sustainability communications, management and impact.
Christina will be helping to build Purple IVY’s offering in both Asia and Europe within the social impact sphere, contributing project management skills, communications expertise and stakeholder insights to Purple IVY’s client base.
Christina brings to Purple IVY some 20 years of experience within strategic sustainable impact. She has deep-seated experience in Europe and Southeast Asia in driving projects with corporations, not-for-profit and inter-governmental organisations. With her multi-stakeholder, collaborative and entrepreneurial approach, she has the insights to identify and deliver opportunities that create impact.
“I am a big believer in building connections. The sustainable impact sphere brings huge opportunity to bring about change and long-lasting investment opportunities, by creating connections and building intrapreneurship in organisations. Most of all, it can make a measurable difference in peoples’ lives,” Christina Ameln commented, “I look forward to bringing my multi-sectoral knowhow to help drive the agenda through Purple IVY .”
“Positive change is all about connecting dots – recognizing the interconnectedness of things and building relationships that can scale great ideas. Christina excels in both. She has demonstrated that she is uniquely equipped to drive, engage and inspire. We are very fortunate to have her onboard,” says Sergio Lopez Ramos, Purple IVY partner and expert on social impact.
Christina’s skillset and experience:
Project lead for building the sustainability space in Southeast Asia, with strong focus on Vietnam. Raising awareness and shaping sustainability mindsets within impact investing. She also project managed Ericsson’s 2016 sustainability report.
Sector facilitator within industry and inter-governmental organizations such as the UN Global Compact Nordic Network, AVPN (Asia Venture Philanthropy Network) and UNDP. Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (GBC). Here, Christina worked with corporate engagement in global health issues and pandemics particularly linking pandemics with business impact.
CSR Director: At SCA (now Essity and SCA), leading global employee engagement programs, and building processes for group-wide Code of Conduct compliance systems.
Lifting mindsets – Speaker, facilitator and writer.
About Purple IVY. A Stockholm-based consultancy, Purple IVY helps future-proof companies and their business models. It leverages strategy, as well as sustainability know-how, management system, communications and impact expertise to integrate sustainability priorities deeper into the business. For more information, visit www.purple-ivy.se or contact Astrid von Schmeling, managing director.
It may seem odd to get excited by something with such a mouthful of a name as the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, but that is just how it is. Those of you who have spoken with me since the TCFD emerged in 2017 know that I can get pretty animated on the subject. Why? Because I see it as a flexible tool supporting a step change in our combined response to climate change across the global economy. Let’s use it!
What is the TCFD?
Quite simply, the TCFD encourages companies to prepare investor-facing information about their near to mid-term resilience, recognising that climate change is and will continue to alter the planet and the economy. It asks that firms recognise, put a financial value on and then manage risks and opportunities that arise from the physical effects of climate change and from the shift or transition to a low-carbon economy. The disclosures are voluntary but will tell investors about the governance of companies and about their resilience.
How is this different from all other climate disclosures?
Two things stand out in the recommendations from the TCFD. One is that firms are encouraged to adjust their financial forecasts. The other is that these calculations should be backed up by the use of scenarios, and the assumptions behind these also disclosed. Both these processes have potential to kick off a transparent and material conversation about how climate change may change our world, about where we invest and about how we do business in the future we are creating together.
Inside companies, there are other interesting changes that can be sparked by this newcomer on the disclosure stage. Just to take one example, creating a TCFD disclosure process will generate intense conversations and new relationships between investor-relations, finance, risk management and sustainability departments. These kinds of cross-functional teams were unthinkable not too long ago and are still not the norm. It is great to hear Unilever’s CFO, Graeme Pitkethly, say that this should now be considered normal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3pQewDHb1I .
Who can benefit?
Integrating a TCFD-compliance process into the yearly reporting cycle for a company of any size, whether there is an immediate plan to publicly disclose the results or not, can deliver a robust, climate-relevant narrative about the company’s governance, strategy, risk management, metrics and targets - in a language that motivates and reassures employees, and is meaningful to financial actors.
When a company doesn’t see themselves at the centre of climate action, preparing a full disclosure of climate-related financial risk may sound like a tall order. But I see an opportunity for companies to construct lean and repeatable future-proofing processes and internal structures as they build towards the disclosure goal. These processes have potential to deliver value at every step, to external and internal stakeholders alike.
Two or three mid-term scenarios for potential futures in which the company needs to remain resilient can be started in sketch form, simply to gather the right people, knowledge and lay plans. They can then evolve with the capacity of the company to be more sophisticated, with more metrics, targets and ideas for how to be a winning company in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
So why does this excite me so much?
Corporate reporting is nothing new. Climate disclosures are nothing new. Green finance doesn’t feel new anymore either. But I stand my ground. The potential of the TCFD is profound even if just its spirit is embraced into normal practice. It changes the way that companies think about climate change, from something vague, debatable and irrelevant to daily actions, to something quantifiable, relevant and actionable. It can furnish investors with wake-up calls.
The TCFD also addresses the tragedy of the horizon, as former Bank of England head Mark Carney so memorably named it. And above all, it stretches the field of action on climate change deep into the world of finance.
As someone who has been working with “the big picture” of global change for almost 20 years now, when something inspires me, it is usually because it reminds me of new words or concepts that may have come and gone, but which we now see shifted the conversation profoundly and created ripples of irreversible change.
The acceleration in how actors in the global economy have limbered up to seriously address the climate crisis is quite something. From simple tools like indices and signatory lists such as the Global Compact, to pioneers fighting to make carbon disclosures the norm. These were joined by strong alliances like the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, working to define the critical changes each sector would need to achieve by 2050. One by one leading CEOs stepped forward to quash sceptical voices.
Each time a new crowd comes up to the start line and starts flexing their muscles, it is because the story suddenly makes sense to them. The right words and concepts have become part of the lexicon - and paths ahead begin to take shape in their imagination. Now it’s the asset managers, fund managers, banks and financial regulators coming to the start line - they understand the language of financial risk, and are beginning to see - as the reinsurance industry has before them - the potential impacts of climate change on their daily lives, both in terms of how they can change what they do and vice versa.
Seizing the winds of change
Just ten years ago, the global economy looked like it was locked - interlocked. Any big changes were blocked by walls; fixed ideas and assumptions made business as usual seem the only option. We have all sensed the shifts, the loosening of straitjackets and heard the cracks as assumptions split wide open and normal suddenly looked crazy.
I passionately believe that the TCFD belongs to this process. We need to grab this opportunity for dialogue with global finance - and I am geared up to help you. Shall we take a crack at it?
So, to sum up, it occurs to me that every single company can benefit from working with or at least being inspired by the TCFD. It is a carefully developed concept that can be used as a tool to integrate climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy into the governance, strategy and risk management processes at the core of every company.
Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and former head of the Bank of England Mark Carney get praise for kicking off the concept, but clearly many should get credit for how it took shape, including all those on the Taskforce (#Neil-Hawkins). Together with my new colleagues at Purple IVY and some wonderful expert partners, I am looking forward to being of service. Do get in touch.
Purple IVY is strengthening its team of sustainability experts with the addition of Rebecca Oliver. Drawing from her background in science and business, Rebecca helps companies carve a way forward in tackling critical issues like climate change.
As of March 2020, Rebecca Oliver has joined our team of consultants. Her talents will enhance our offering to help companies chart short and long-term responses to critical risks like climate change and increase transparency on climate risks to the financial community.
“With her experience in scenario processes, and her ability to bring together professionals from across sectors, she is a natural addition to our team,” says Purple IVY managing director, Astrid von Schmeling.
A biologist by training, Rebecca has spent some 20 years within sustainability science, stakeholder engagement and the fast-moving consumer goods industry at Unilever. During eight years at the Tällberg Foundation, she brought leaders and experts together to understand and influence global development. Her passion is to use scenarios to help companies better scope, get excited about, and prepare for, the future.
“We are living in extraordinary times where the search to define the future is on. The need for a response from companies to a changing context will only deepen. Purple IVY has the tools and strategy for supporting companies who wish to futureproof their operations. I look forward to contributing with my knowledge and expertise,” says Rebecca.
Most recently, Rebecca worked with Johan Rockström and the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences to set up the Swedish office for the global sustainability science platform Future Earth, where she brought finance and climate experts together to explore risk models.
About Purple IVY. A Stockholm-based consultancy, Purple IVY helps companies to future-proof their business models. It leverages business strategy, sustainability know-how, management system, communications and impact expertise to integrate sustainability priorities deeper into the business.
That brings me to the subject of risk. Hand on your heart: Were you
caught ‘unsurprised’ by this Covid tsunami? Were you one of the lucky ones to be
prepared for its fast-evolving implications?
When your company did its latest risk assessment, how did you rate the
risk of a pandemic? It’s likely that a
pandemic ended up on the ‘low probability’-‘high risk’ quadrant of your risk
Creating do-able plans are an integral part of completing risk
assessments and shaping logical scenarios. Plan A could be ‘business as usual’
scenario and have sharp focus on the red-hot risks on your map that you want to
prevent. Plan B could have a few tweaks to plan A. C, on the other hand, would
describe ‘business unusual’ scenario and address the right-hand column of your
risk heat map.
As I write these lines, a lot of people are working hard on developing a
doable plan for Scenario C for their companies.
They are playing catch up either because:
was one of those risks that was so low on probability that companies had not
bothered to prepare a business continuity plan supporting this event.
The company didn’t even capture that risk in their risk assessment and are now wondering why not.
company never regarded proactive, strategic risk management as necessary.
Either way, it is no easy task to play catch up and get alignment with
your team on a Plan C in these extenuating circumstances.
Can you dare to ignore risks?
Risk management is crucial to business continuity. If the company doesn’t
dare take risks, its business will stagnate. But if it takes risks without
understanding their potential consequences, it could end up in a situation
where it loses the confidence of its customers, employees, partners and other
stakeholders. Some risks have a huge potential
consequence for the business if they were to happen, At the same time, they’re deemed
unlikely to occur. Should companies have a plan for these? Hindsight is 20/20.
Risk management as a proactive tool
Risk management is the most efficient tool companies can use to work
proactively. The more fast-moving and future-gazing the company is, the
more benefit they will gain from it. Because it provides clear and
straightforward support for decision making, it makes it easier to say no if
they have to and gives a rational motivation to back up the decision.
Using the outcome
A risk assessment gives companies a proactive approach to getting the right prioritization for realizing a strategy. At the same time, the process highlights those risks that might be a showstopper and that companies need to prepare for with a continuity plan – Plan C . The result can be input to forward gazing plans for success and continuity plans for survival.
The process consists of six steps: setting the scope, identifying risks,
prioritizing based on consequence and probability, control, following up and
Business continuity planning creates systems for prevention and recovery
to deal with potential threats to a company. In addition to prevention, the
goal is to enable ongoing operations before and during execution of disaster
They say that it is common sense and I agree, it is sensible but not always common.
Are you reevaluating your approach to risk? Contact us to get support and
improve your management or continuity management processes.
Ever heard of the term stationarity? Though rooted in the rules of mathematics and statistics, it can come in very handy when explaining what needs to change in business thinking.
Stationarity is a way of finding solutions for the future by looking back at what was. In strategy terms, you can also call it ‘leaning back’. We can see this principle applied in all too many businesses, when sustainability strategies are based on a more-of-the-same approach, and targets are set a little bit higher than they were before.
But the thing is, our world is changing much too quickly and radically for that kind of approach to work anymore. Past performance can’t predict how we can succeed in the future. We need to adapt strategies by aligning them to what’s happening in the world. We need to lean forward, not back.
Human’s impact on the environment, limits to growth, an interconnected world and shifting demographics are all changing the business game plan. These drivers shape how our society is structured, which is bound to have a huge impact on the dynamics of your market and value chain, as well as on people’s expectations on your business.
Through the impacts of these drivers, your business is entering unchartered territory. And the fun thing is that corporate sustainability teams have a huge role to play in helping your company succeed in this new business landscape. Scania, Ericsson, and Electrolux are all good examples of companies that are integrating sustainability thinking into their core processes and defining top-level business strategies in the context of their roles in a changing world. Integrating sustainability is helping them carve their place in a new world.
In our posts, my Purple Ivy colleagues and I are going to explore how companies can benefit from leaning forward and developing a deeper understanding of their role in changing times. We’re convinced that doing so is the only way to build a flexible, visionary organization which can weather the storms ahead and come out stronger on the other side.
Future-Focused Materiality: According to a recently published statement by 11,000 scientists from 153 countries, the world still has enough time to get its act together.
There are positive signs all over that show that change is underway. US $7 trillion has been divested from fossil-based assets in the last 5 years. The world population is showing signs of stabilization as the fertility rate has almost halved to 2.4 births per woman in the last two generations.
However, scientists agree that the world is in a state of climate emergency, that the pace of change needs to increase by multi-folds. Where do your opportunities and responsibilities in this transition lie?