Thriving in the long term (Editor’s note)
Over the past ten years, the corporate sustainability imperative has firmly taken hold. The timeline of significant developments presented in this publication demonstrates the pace at which new demands are being placed on companies. Sustainability is no longer the domain of progressive multinationals alone; it is now mainstream for all listed companies and many more progressive unlisted companies.
Despite this uptake in activity, there remains frustration and inefficiency among companies trying to manage and report on sustainability. There is still a great deal of fluff generated in the form of reported content that has little relevance to the company itself or its target audience. Companies are not solely to blame for this. There are a multitude of guidelines, codes or standards and no sooner is one adopted then it is updated, or a new one introduced.
It helps to take a step back and look at the fundamental rationale for sustainability and the basic principles that should be applied. At the end of the day, sustainability is about good business. It doesn’t abandon the capitalist principles of business, but injects a consciousness of how business interacts with and is dependent on society. Understanding and navigating complex relationships is necessary for any business aiming to thrive over the long term.
In this publication we have picked a number of topics that we know companies are grappling with. We have aimed to provide a frank assessment of the current status and guidance on how companies should act. My hope is that readers who are exposed to their company’s sustainability activities will gain a clearer understanding of the topic and apply this knowledge meaningfully in their daily work.
In compiling this review, Trialogue has entered into an exciting knowledge-sharing partnership with EY. The partnership will extend to a series of forum discussions on selected sustainability topics during the second half of this year. The combination of thought-leadership articles and stimulating debate provides a powerful learning platform, which is capable of changing mindsets.
Finally, while companies such as Trialogue may act as an agent of change, it is companies themselves that ultimately make the difference. There are many exciting examples where corporates are reducing negative impacts or making a positive contribution to society. Practices are no longer justified on purely moral grounds, but increasingly on real and quantifiable business returns. Sharing these practices not only advances the reputation of these companies as good corporate citizens, but it ignites ideas in others and reinforces the case for good business practice. In this publication, we include a number of corporate profiles, which give readers practical insights into how South African business is taking sustainability on board.
It is said that sustainability is a journey. We can only take one step at a time down this long road. This publication is a significant step for Trialogue. I encourage you to join us on this journey.