Topic

Sustainability reimagined

Unleashing the full potential of sustainability to make organisations fit for the future

Sustainability is at the top of the strategic agenda everywhere. Trailblazing organisations are acting fast to reduce harmful impacts on people and the planet. And even those that have been slower to respond are being forced to act due to regulatory changes and stakeholder demands. Becoming more sustainable is now a given.

However, faced with a proliferation of stakeholder requirements, there is a risk that many organisations are merely scratching the surface of sustainability as they try to keep up. But what if we used the sustainability agenda to profoundly reimagine why our organisation exists and how we operate?

We believe that, instead of a “sustainability strategy”, organisations of the future will have a “sustainable strategy”. Instead of taking incremental steps towards what is good for them, they will dare to unleash transformational change towards a brighter future that is better for all of us.

Let us explore the future together and reimagine sustainability.

Perspectives on reimagining sustainability

Value creation

What if organisations of the future redefined their strategic choices to create long-term value for all stakeholders and abandoned short-term optimisation of performance to serve shareholders?

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Organisational purpose

What if organisations of the future reimagined their purpose by shifting their focus to solving deeply worthwhile problems and refused to produce whatever the customer considered they wanted?

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Leadership decision-making

What if organisations of the future integrated multiple bottom lines and externalities in all decision-making processes to make truly sustainable choices and asked the finance department to never produce a simplistic financial business case again?

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Collaboration and ecosystems

What if organisations of the future collaborated closely across value chains and ecosystems to accelerate systems-level change for a greater good and stopped battling competitors and caring only about ‘what’s in it for us’?

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#1 Value creation reimagined

What if organisations of the future redefined their strategic choices to create long-term value for all stakeholders – and abandoned short-term optimisation of performance to serve shareholders?

Strategy is about making choices and, in a world of constant change, every organisation must continually evaluate and renew strategic choices about where to focus and how to succeed. But to consistently make great choices, the process of making choices itself must be guided by a set of fundamental principles about what constitutes good or bad choices. If not, decision-making may be arbitrary or subject to biased opinions.

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#2 Organisational purpose reimagined

What if organisations of the future reimagined their purpose by shifting their focus to solving deeply worthwhile problems – and refused to produce whatever their customers really wanted?

In essence, all businesses exist because they solve problems for their customers. They flourish if they either solve problems better than the customers themselves or do it better or cheaper than the alternatives already available on the market.

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#3 Leadership decision-making reimagined

What if organisations of the future integrated multiple bottom lines and externalities in all decision-making processes to make truly sustainable choices – and asked the finance department to never produce a simplistic financial business case again?

Myriads of decisions are made in every organisation each day. Some decisions are tactical and simple, typically based on straight-forward intuition and experience. Other decisions are strategic and complex, often demanding sophisticated problem-solving and careful testing of critical assumptions.

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#4 Collaboration and ecosystems reimagined

What if organisations of the future collaborated closely across value chains and ecosystems to accelerate systems-level change for a greater good – and stopped battling competitors and caring only about ‘what’s in it for us’?

Words and concepts matter. They frame our worldview and form the world around us. Examining the vocabulary of business strategy is a case in point and there appears to be an urgent need to rewrite the rules of business in an age of alarming planetary and societal issues. Let's stop talking about winners and losers and start caring about what's in it for all of us.

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