The journey to becoming a responsible business starts with planning, writes Charissa Jaganath, group head of Responsible Business at Logicalis.
What does a responsible business look like? It is one that prioritises corporate responsibility and meets regulatory requirements for the benefit of society.
It is one that looks to meet or exceed legislative standards relating to operations and follows best practices where such standards don’t exist. It is one that thinks about its impact on the community, economy, and planet – and looks to make this positive.
“With the right strategy and a proactive mindset, being a responsible business also has the power to benefit Irish organisations and deliver impactful, yet sustainable, value for all involved”
Being a responsible business is something all organisations should strive for, especially given the heightened focus on reducing the effects of climate change. Of course, responsible business is not just about how companies work, it’s also about what they do for people, both within and outside of the company, as well as for society as a whole. It’s about making a commitment and making a difference.
With the right strategy and a proactive mindset, being a responsible business also has the power to benefit Irish organisations and deliver impactful, yet sustainable, value for all involved. In other words, it makes sense on a personal, global, and business level. But before Irish companies can take advantage of being a responsible business, they must take charge and take action.
The journey to becoming a responsible business starts with planning, underpinned by conversations around and education on what can be done and what is feasible for you as an organisation to do. After all, every company is unique and what works for one won’t work for others. Even those that are similar in scale and industry may find that different approaches are equally effective.
When we looked at our own business within Logicalis, we recognised that we needed to prioritise this area and go beyond the normal efforts to stand apart as a leader and as architects of change. We therefore create a dedicated role (mine!) to help drive the transformation of the company into a pillar of responsible business.
Since then, we have put a strategy in place that identifies three main pillars for our responsible business strategy – people, communities, and planet. Under each, we have defined objectives and established metrics, aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and principal Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) domains of Governance, Planet, People and Prosperity.
After all, measuring efforts is the only way to determine what is working and what’s not, as well as showing the return on investment. It’s also important that your strategy covers all areas and levels of the business, with buy-in from staff and management across every department.
Of course, saying that you are going to do things isn’t enough. Those plans need to be put into practice to follow through on commitments to diversity, sustainability, and corporate responsibility. So, after you’ve researched and reviewed, it’s time to revamp. Across our three main pillars, we have actively put processes and programmes in place to achieve our goals.
To create a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace, we set up a Global Inclusion Council, a team of leaders who drive the creation of strategic accountability and actions to help deliver diversity and inclusion objectives, provide governance on these efforts, and promote division-wide communication on progress. The council ensures we are creating an inclusive work environment, celebrating diversity, and empowering people to reach their full potential. We are also in the process of executing a Logicalis Wellbeing Programme to support the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of staff.
For the communities in which we work, we have developed three business-aligned education programmes to support education in STEM, facilitate interventions to increase the number of women and minority groups in technology, and upskill adults to be supported in technology. These are already delivering results. For instance, in our Financial Year 2022, we exceeded our target to execute at least five strategic education projects across the globe. Our goal is to implement at least 30 across the Group by Financial Year 2025.
When it comes to the planet, we are committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2025 and working to improve environmental performance across the group with defined targets. To achieve these, we are consistently reporting across sustainability platforms like EcoVadis. Over the course of the coming year, we will be implementing at least one environmental project in every country we operate in, which means 27 new schemes to help reduce emissions, water use or waste generation.
Given that such actions require an investment of time and money, the question then becomes: “what’s in it for the business?” The answer is a lot, and more than ever before with the growing importance and influence of these issues among staff, suppliers, and shareholders.
“Responsible businesses are now being talked about in the same way as profitable businesses. It’s no longer a desirable attribute but a necessary objective”
If you look at the people element, having a more engaged and empowered team will often lead to increased productivity and heightened satisfaction. In turn, this can positively impact on customer service levels and delivery, while making your company more attractive in terms of staff retention and attraction. When you think about the current skills shortage facing the sector, this is crucial.
As I said, the business landscape has been shifting, and has undoubtedly been accelerated by the pandemic, to a situation where suppliers and partners are looking to use sustainable solutions and work with environmentally conscious providers. As a responsible business, you are therefore positioning yourself to stand out from the competition and drive business growth.
In fact, responsible businesses are now being talked about in the same way as profitable businesses. It’s no longer a desirable attribute but a necessary objective. Bringing about change in this area within your organisation can be achieved, but it requires leadership and transformation. To do it right, you must take charge and take action. And if you do it right, you (and your business) can take advantage.