It’s Time for Transformation: Question Everything
The Future of Business and the Future of Sustainability are the two sides of the same coin: it’s all about combining profit and purpose to deliver a better performance and value for all.
Over the past two decades, sustainability has become a core business concern that is fundamental to long-term objectives and value creation. Businesses that address global concerns and put sustainability at the heart of their overall strategy will benefit from improved cost margins and an enhanced corporate image.
I am deeply convinced that there’s no better Reputation Shield than this, which actually insulates the organization from future risks and fosters robust relationships with customers, employees and communities.
There’s no doubt that sustainability challenges, strategies, trends and perspectives are shaping all business models. The circular economy, shared value, net positive… these are innovative ways to combine business performance and global citizenship, and to create a new dialogue on the role of business in society.
It’s anything but easy for long-established businesses to transform their way of working – and sometimes radically. The transition from a classical “profit and shareholders first” approach to a ‘value-for-all’ approach is a complex one , and involves everything from tackling resource wastage and climate change, to enabling management to engage with society and prepare their departments for future threats and opportunities.
Everything needs to be questioned , in a context where the combination of digital transformation and environmental changes place serious pressure on all businesses.
All the disruptive and effective innovations, and new business models we’ve shared in this report show the way, brilliantly. There’s a race to the top and this is widening the gap between the businesses that already focus on sustainability and those that do not: revealing a hard journey ahead for the latter, when the time comes to try and catch up.
The first and main obstacle is cultural: changing mindsets is difficult.
If a minority of companies have already started embracing change, a vast majority remains uncertain, cautious, and conservative in their approach: “ Why should we do things differently? Why should sustainability have anything to do with producing and selling? ”
The answer is that sustainability is not just a nice-to-have, an external constraint: it’s actually the biggest opportunity corporations can seize to innovate, transform their business model, and create real differentiation and value for all.
To make this happen, to build a more sustainable and better performance, businesses need to connect the dots between all their assets . Businesses need to break down all traditional silos and internal boundaries between sales, marketing, financial, CSR, communications and HR departments. From this standpoint, engaging the top leadership is essential. At the end of the day, it’s all about protecting growth and profitability over time, but in a manner which simultaneously protects the world around.
This article is a part of MSLGROUP’s sustainability report A Chance for Change: The Tipping Point for Sustainable Business .
Pascal holds BAs in History and Language Sciences, a master’s degree in Linguistics and a post graduate degree in Semio-Linguistics. In 1987 he joined Intelligences, a subsidiary of Publicis, and in 1992 he became Managing Director. In 1994 he was promoted to Partner at Publicis Consultants, and then to General Manager of Carré Noir in 2001. In 2005 Pascal was named VP of Publicis Consultants | Worldwide, in charge of Brand Strategy and development of its international network. Connect with him on Twitter @pbeucler