28 Feb 2013

The future we (didn’t yet dare to) want

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I came across an interesting study from Deloitte (one of the Big 4) some weeks ago … that could be piled in among the already numerous archived documents (including also videos and movies – remember for instance “An inconvenient truth” from Al Gore), working papers, etc … that have predicted a sad future for the humanity if politicians, business actors and every of us as a consumer do not take the bull by the horns and explore new alternatives to growth.


New study points to gaps which make evaluation and progress more difficult

As released on their website :

“Deloitte has researched in total 65 leading companies in sustainability in 10 industries and concludes that less than 10% are near the “green economy” stage.

Here are the gaps:
Comparability gap
The research reveals a lack of consistent definitions and descriptions that companies use to explain their sustainability efforts in the various components examined.
Implementation gap
Some of the companies have proposed ambitious strategies that have scored high in the Zero Impact Growth Monitor. However, the degree of implementation of these overall strategies often do not receive similar scores when assessing the different components.
Balance gap
A third finding describes an overall tendency that environmental goal-setting is more consistent towards supporting overall strategies than social goal setting. The reason for these better environmental scores has to do with the advanced possibilities to monetize environmental strategy contributions to overall economic value added.
Gaps in and between industries
Although the research focused only on the so-called ‘leading companies’, there are still considerable differences in scores – even within the same industry. We have seen the biggest gaps in some of those industries that will see the highest EBITDA loss in case of the internalization of additional external costs. During our research we have also observed considerable differences in the scores of various industries, which in our view hinders potential innovation and collaboration in and between the industries.”

Download the Deloitte study

What Deloitte reports is absolutely not surprising !

Sustainability has a cost and needs changing our minds, in order to : 1)-understand why there is a cost and 2)-accept/acknowledge it.

As long as we want to do business-as-usual (i.e. being highest profits driven), sustainability will be just a dream … or hypocrisy. Let’s start with thinking what the humankind needs to live in a sustainable (i.e. secured) environment, and build new business models upon and around this.

If your Board of Directors is just focuses on the P&L … give up drawing up nice and ambitious drafts of social- and environment- friendly business development. You will face steady objections stating that the company could make a better margins with doing another (unsustainable … not told, obviously !) way. You loose your time …

There are today no incentives and real support at the highest levels of the world economic power (be it stock-exchanges, WTO, multinational companies, banks, etc …) to inflect the way the business is done and the way the income generating process is ruled.

The trigger to change will come from the SMEs, from the small entrepreneurs because they still have the ability / credibility to set-up long-standing and confident relationship with their customers’ base (essentially due to geographical proximity). Sustainability is just a matter of proximity.
The concept of globalisation alongside the famous “Think global, act local” has only brought along some chaos and unsustainability. “Think local, act global” as I have ever said is the correct path to go towards a green and social economy. May I invite you to read the short elaboration about this I made in 2010.

Hope this reflection helps going forward … in the right way.
Thanks Deloitte, for this report !

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