As the very definition of sustainability changes, from purely an environmental lens to one that can encompass a broad range of holistic business approaches, companies around the globe are leaning in to ways they can take active steps toward implementing policy and operational change. According to a new publication from Euromonitor International, this affords opportunity for purpose-driven businesses to think about not just their own companies but their communities and society at large.
Euromonitor’s Maria Coronado Robles, sustainability insights manager, and Gayatri Bhasin Darke, head of research, co-authored the piece, “Rethinking Sustainability: No Purpose, No Gain.” Their goal was to explore the topic of ‘purpose’ and what that means for businesses looking to implement sustainability measures—in different aspects of their operations—as the landscape shifts during the pandemic recovery. The paper includes expert insights as well as results of surveys conducted in June and July 2020 across companies in 18 industries and 80+ countries.
In its Sustainability survey, fielded in June 2020, Euromonitor found the coronavirus pandemic increased by 15% the number of companies defining sustainability as “supporting local communities”—now sitting at two-thirds of respondents. Further, around half of companies connect sustainability to support of their own employees and to supply partners.
At the same time, this poses challenges, as the authors note in Euromonitor’s July 2020 COVID-19 survey, more than 20% of respondents had downsized their operations and one in eight was not providing paid sick leave. However, companies are more aware of the need to support their teams, as Euromonitor found 71% of companies were looking to invest in employee support programs related to the change in defining ‘work’ and engagement.
Of note to the global health and wellness industry were findings reported around supply chain safety. Euromonitor’s COVID-19 survey found 44.9% of companies reported COVID-19 had an extensive impact on their operations, and 35.4% were affected by supply shortages. This has driven companies to plan to allocate budget toward building supply chain resilience in the next five years, looking to options such as diversifying their supply chain or bringing home offshore manufacturing, while also offering opportunities for digital solutions. Euromonitor further outlined how companies are planning to invest in sustainability, accelerating the development of sustainable products and sustainable sourcing.
Coronado Robles and Bhasin Darke close with several recommendations on how companies can “embrace the shift from sustainability to purpose.” One powerful opportunity comes from turning a negative into a positive, as they note: “Use the disruption created by the health crisis to shift seemingly immovable barriers and entrenched ways of working and make room for purpose-led innovation.”
For the rest of the recommendations, and a range of insights on the opportunities around sustainability, click here to download the free whitepaper.