31.05.2017  |  Klima, miljø og energi

Deloitte Sustainability Services: demonstrating purpose in practice part 2

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Read Part 2 of Environment Analyst’s interview with Deloitte Sustainability on how purpose can drive performance and profitability.

Purpose as a roadmap for business strategy

While world leaders gathered at UN headquarters for the official announcement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in 2015, Deloitte Sustainability Services was busy launching its new social impact services.

Increasingly, there is an expectation that private sector organisations will work to positively impact society. It is a trend driven largely by customers and calls for greater transparency. Deloitte helps clients in the public, private, and social sectors respond to societal challenges. Through multidisciplinary teams they co-create solutions with clients and strengthen linkages between sectors. "Modern day businesses operate in a global way which presents opportunities to work collaboratively towards global solutions," stated Helena Barton. "Our ability to mobilise ecosystems to solve challenging societal problems provides a real competitive advantage for clients."  This capability was made stronger by Deloitte’s acquisition of Monitor Institute in 2013, which has 15 years of experience bringing together innovative social entrepreneurs, non-profits and funders to advance progress on a range of social issues.

In 2015 Deloitte conducted a study entitled Driving Corporate Growth through Social Impact that looked at how Fortune 500 public companies "do" social impact. "Much of the attention surrounding social impact had been focused on leading companies such as Danone or Unilever. They certainly deserve to be recognised, but we wanted to explore how other companies were prioritising and integrating social impact," explained Barton. The analysis evaluated 60 social impact measures across a company’s: (1) business strategy; (2) governance, structure, and processes; (3) social impact motivations; and (4) public perception–to understand how companies prioritise social and environmental considerations with shareholder value. "The research suggested that while many companies engage in some form of social responsibility, only a third saw social impact as core to their strategy, but we are convinced this will change," explained Barton.

Over the next five years, Deloitte expects a shift among companies looking to integrate social impact into the core business. According to Dugelay, business can play a pivotal role in the achievement of the SDGs while ensuring commercial success. "It is clear that long-term value creation is linked to a commitment to sustainable development," he explained. Dugelay believes to fully benefit from the interdependency between sustainable development and commercial success, businesses need to articulate a clear purpose that can be linked to the SDGs and used to shape the activities and culture of the organisation. "We call this vision - 2030 Purpose."

In January 2017, Deloitte published the report entitled 2030 Purpose which explains why purpose is critical for businesses. "2030 Purpose provides a north star to inform decision making and business strategy, and an authentic platform for stakeholder engagement," explained Dugelay. 

Three years ago Deloitte set out to discover its own purpose, building on results of a global survey of 20,000 professionals. It led to the group's purpose defined as ‘Making an impact that matters for our clients, our people and society’. Deloitte Sustainability Services is one of the ways the firm is demonstrating the purpose in practice.

Further Information:
Deloitte Sustainability Services 

This article was originally published at www.environment-analyst.com

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