- Mazars launches, in partnership with ecoDa, a guide to a sustainable business approach.
- Sustainability emerges as an opportunity to create value for stakeholders internal, external and the community in general.
- Sustainability is no longer a complement, an exercise in compliance or simply marketing, but a competitive, strategic and differentiating advantage.
- The guide lists the reasons for paying more and more attention to sustainability, identifies the areas where action is needed and presents an exercise to assess a company's current state of sustainability.
Mazars, in collaboration with ecoDa (European Voice of Directors), has presented a practical guide to implementing a sustainable business approach. The document defines the commitment to sustainability required of managers and leaders, considering the key issues to be addressed and identifying the measures to be implemented systematically, in a forward-looking approach, with steps to be taken and clear objectives to be achieved.
This guide follows a series of round tables held by the two organizations in late 2019 and early 2020 in various European markets. These initiatives made it possible to bring together managers and investors to discuss how to develop an effective dialogue, based on mutual commitment, to promote sustainable success for the benefit of stakeholders and society in general.
The pressure on organizational leadership to address sustainability has increased significantly in recent years and a radical shift has occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with widespread expectations on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, particularly in the European context, companies' business models need to evolve to integrate long-term value creation.
This is not just a concern for large companies, all businesses will be strongly affected by increased scrutiny about their response to sustainability, be it in terms of their supply chains, access to finance or reputational risks.
Rather than approaching sustainability as a complement, an exercise in compliance or a mere marketing-oriented initiative, this theme has emerged as a competitive, strategic and differentiating advantage.
As Patrícia Cardoso, Partner at Mazars in Portugal, explains, "As the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll globally, many companies that are trying to stay relevant in difficult times and challenging markets have realized that it is no longer enough to focus solely on the economic side of their business. A company's environmental and social issues are increasingly at the top of the list of concerns for decision-makers and stakeholders. A proactive approach to sustainability can increase a company's competitive advantage in several dimensions, including its ability to recruit and retain talent, enhance corporate reputation and promote customer satisfaction and brand loyalty."
Managers, directors and leaders can show their support for sustainability in various ways, such as minimizing their organizations' environmental footprint, adopting fair policies in the management of their people (e.g. associated with diversity and inclusion), treating their customers fairly or building ethical and ecological value chains and transparent and balanced tax policies.
Leadership for sustainability management
In order to bring about this change, this guide has been designed to be used in parallel with existing corporate governance codes and national and international regulations, standards and principles, addressing the importance of leadership for sustainability management and the growing legal and regulatory responsibilities that Management faces in this area.
The first section points out why managers and leaders should put sustainability at the top of their agendas and describes the critical success factors to support executive management in defining the path to take.
This first part is followed by a series of questions designed to identify areas where additional action is needed.
The final section provides a tool for assessing a company's current stage in its journey towards sustainable success through different axes. Applying this exercise provided in the guide will allow company managers to understand their current position and identify the areas in which achieving sustainability will have the greatest positive impact.
Companies are the engine of wealth creation and play a vital role in building a healthy and prosperous society. The growing concern is that, in some cases, a greater emphasis is placed on maximizing short-term profits, rather than a more balanced focus on long-term sustainable success.
With 4/5 of the market value of companies now centered on employees, relationship-based assets and other intangibles, the business community will benefit from expanding its vision of what constitutes success.
At a time when employees, customers, investors, financiers, the public sector and media emphasize the importance of sustainability, neglecting ESG issues can pose a threat to the viability and evolution of the business.
Mazars is an international, integrated partnership specializing in audit, accounting, consulting, tax and legal services*. It operates in more than 90 countries and territories around the world and draws on the expertise of more than 42,000 professionals - 26,000+ in the Mazars integrated partnership and 16,000+ via the Mazars North America Alliance - to support clients of all sizes at every stage of their development.