How collaboration can lead to sustainable advantage

Sam Smith, CEO of finnCap Group shares with Business Leader, her thoughts on how a collaborative working environment can help drive change, in order to create a more sustainable future.

It is increasingly clear that solving the major environmental, social and economic challenges of the day requires unparalleled collaboration from companies and stakeholders. Sustainability is not a journey that can be undertaken alone. The need for collaboration to drive change and address interconnected, systemic risks has never been greater.  The COVID-19 pandemic has been a timely reminder that the biggest issues of the day are inextricably linked – you cannot have a healthy economy without a healthy population, or planet.

According to Mervyn King, chair of the International Integrated Reporting Council and former governor of the Bank of England, stakeholder collaboration will help both companies and society thrive. Businesses are setting up and joining collaborative and multi-stakeholder initiatives to help deliver better outcomes for all.  A good example is the 1.5°C Supply Chain Leaders, founded by Ericsson, Ikea, Telia, BT and Unilever with the aim of halving absolute GHG emissions before 2030 and reaching net zero emissions throughout their supply chains before 2050. The group is also supporting the SME Climate Hub, described as “a one-stop-shop for SMEs to curb carbon emissions, build business resilience and gain a competitive advantage”.

It is encouraging to see the role that bigger companies and multi-national corporates are playing in helping to engage smaller, more local businesses and their supply chain partners. We urgently need leaders and first movers to galvanise support across their industries. On the path to net zero, working together to achieve common targets is the only way forward.  I believe that collaboration between companies – as well as investors and communities – is at the heart of sustainable business practices, whilst also having a positive impact on investment returns.

For SMEs at the start of their sustainability journey, industry bodies and NGOs can be valuable allies. Drawing on their expertise, networks, tools and resources can help smaller companies unlock their potential and provide additional scale and synergy.  Supercharging sustainability efforts through strategic partnerships can be transformative.

Seeking out a like-minded organisation to help develop a much-needed solution is something we, at finnCap, continually seek to do. We are focused on the challenge of creating real sustainable advantage and helping companies report on ESG. We’re proud to have partnered with sustainability fintech company World Wide Generation (WWG) in order to provide growth businesses with a new digital sustainability monitoring and measurement app, Company Tracker, to measure and improve their social, economic and environmental impact, aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

As we approach COP26, stronger collaboration between countries to tackle climate change between all countries has never been higher up the news agenda.  But it’s important to remember that collaboration doesn’t solely reside in government debates and a far-distant negotiating table. It starts from the ground-up – in both small and big businesses, in both little and large projects, in both small steps and giant leaps towards a better future for us all.