Whether brands know it or not, sustainability is going to be much higher on their agenda in 2021. For the simple reason that following the disasters of 2020, it has now become a business imperative.
It will no longer be an outlier in its own department, something that companies think they should invest in (because it looks good), but don’t really support. It will be at the core of what a business is. For every business, anywhere in the supply chain.
At Beta Good, we know that CEOs of major brands are asking for sustainability plans that will drive their business growth, while start-ups who are looking for investment are being asked by investors what their sustainability strategy is.
Brand teams will also begin to properly realise that sustainability is where the real creative opportunity lies for them to really grow their businesses.
And these companies, once their own houses are in order, are asking their suppliers what they are doing to make sure their standards meet their own. And everyone will have to do this because they will have people within their organisation pressuring upwards to make sure they are.
Because of this 2021 will see a radical reshaping and resetting of mindset and priorities. There will be a move to implement Whole System Thinking across businesses. Organisations will remake themselves following 2020. Brands will collaborate more, we will see moves into behaviour innovation, lots more new tech adoption and reappraisals of how we all operate. Everything will be in review….infrastructure, supply chain, everything, not just marcomms.
And because of this sustainability can and surely will transform the organisational culture and the way they attract, improve and retain the best talent. People have expectations from their employees to make responsible choices. The workforce is becoming more global as employers adapt to a global economy, outsourcing, and as technology makes it possible to be effective with global work teams and partnerships. And what a post-Covid world has given all organisations, is permission to adapt and allow flexible working and new ways of operating and teaming.
It is now vitally important to have the right culture (Mindset) where everyone is on the same page and a believes in the purpose of the organisation and is able to see how they play their part, the right people (Skillset) being hired from different backgrounds and diverse cultures, helping improve choices, and the right tools (Toolset) - using technology to help people be more efficient with their time and learn from each other can lead to organisational transformation that liberates your people to do great things.
But it only works if it all works. And to make it work we need to re-evaluate the way we create KPIs for people and our businesses - these should be based around positivity, optimism, collaboration and sustainability, all baked into plans and running parallel across all people. This will help us bake kindness into our businesses.
It feels like many of us have stepped into this year with, understandably, a more pessimistic view than normal but I think we have to be optimistic because it feels like a decade of change, where it is going acceptable that it is trying to change for the better.