June 30, 2020

Managing Sustainability: Ramboll-Studie zeigt, wie Unternehmen Nachhaltigkeit umsetzen

Auch wenn 95 % der Unternehmen Nachhaltigkeit als Schlüssel für ihren zukünftigen Erfolg sehen, stellt die Umsetzung eines nachhaltigeren Geschäftsmodells viele von ihnen vor eine große Aufgabe. Die Umfrage zeigt die Herausforderungen auf und ein Ramboll-Experte erklärt, wie ein strategischer Ansatz und systematisches Management hierbei helfen können.

Ramboll’s Managing Sustainability survey shows that, of the 160 companies that responded, 95% say sustainability is an important factor for the long-term success of their business. This applies to companies from all sectors including manufacturing, chemical & pharma, professional services, finance & insurance, energy and property. However, implementing sustainability into business models needs a strategic approach.

Jens Haubensak, sustainability expert at Ramboll, says: “The change that comes with the increasing pressure of sustainability issues may sound threatening at first, but it does not have to be. On the contrary, if approached strategically and systematically, fundamental change also brings momentum to organisational transformation and, ultimately, new business opportunities.”

Methodologies and tools are available to provide practical assistance for sustainability managers to contend with this challenge. “Concepts such as planetary boundaries or circular economy are useful to re-frame the strategic perspective and capture a holistic view on current and future drivers, as well as their interactions and business impacts,” says Jens Haubensak. On an operational level, well-proven management systems provide effective platforms to make strategies manageable. Science-driven methodologies such as life-cycle assessments or carbon foot printing can be applied to make performance measurable.

Motivation and strategic focus

The survey shows that internal and external drivers are equally important for implementing sustainability. "When looking into operating more sustainably, 48% of respondents are concerned about minimising risk. For 49%, securing a positive reputation and meeting stakeholder expectations also plays an important role," says Jens Haubensak, adding: "Inevitably, developments in regulatory frameworks and customer requests increase the pressure on companies to concretely demonstrate how they deal with and, moreover, positively contribute to sustainability."

Strategically, the majority of represented companies focus on environmental sustainability, with climate change in the lead (83%), followed by chemical pollution (44%), freshwater scarcity and quality (37%) as well as air pollution (32%). Social aspects such as protecting human rights, reducing inequality and injustice as well as poverty or epidemic diseases have been named by 23% of the respondents.

Implementation challenges