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Sustainability initiatives improve employee engagement and support business outcomes

This Earth Day, Apr 22 2021, Sodexo, the world leader in Quality of Life services, is launching a white paper – Sustainability Shifts from Business Imperative to Mission Critical to highlight the critical need for businesses to refocus their efforts on sustainability, and in doing so, improve employee engagement, grow consumer satisfaction and boost the bottom line.

 

The Business Case for Sustainability

The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated just how interlinked human, business and planetary health are. Amidst this context, employees, investors and consumers are demanding that businesses do more to improve their sustainability performance. In fact, more than half (51%) say the primary responsibility to combat climate change falls on corporates, and only 6% point to consumers, according to research1. As such, companies who take concrete effort on sustainability are likelier to increase brand loyalty and consumer confidence, compared to those who ignore the issue.

When cities and countries started to lockdown in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, the movement of goods across borders were affected and supply chains were disrupted. As a result of this, more companies now intend to procure from local, more sustainable sources to create more resilient and robust supply chains2. Sourcing locally also improves consumer confidence, with research showing that 76% of consumers find locally imported products “completely” or “somewhat” trustworthy3. These initiatives, together with other sustainability programs such as waste reduction, can help businesses be more resilient while improving the bottom line.

Furthermore, firms need to ensure that their sustainability credentials are in good standing, to attract and retain talent. This especially applies to Gen Zs and Millenials, who not only prioritise social activism and diversity more than previous generations4 but also want to work for employers whose values align with their own.

 

As a partner that provides integrated food and facilities management services to businesses and organisations, Sodexo has deep experience collaborating with our clients to mutually further sustainability goals. Doing business sustainably is no longer just a good to have, but a need to do. We invite other organisations to take action and join us on the journey to positively impact our employees, the consumers we serve, the communities we live in and the planet we all share. At Sodexo, we know that it is possible to be a responsible corporate citizen while still positively impacting the bottom line.

Abel Ariza, President, Malaysia & Singapore, Sodexo

Taking Action on Sustainability

To take action, business will need to be transparent about where they are in the sustainability journey. This will provide the basis for setting ambitious, measurable targets so that employees, consumers and investors can hold companies accountable.

A key resource that businesses can tap on are their employees. Start by tapping on their passions and create employee advocacy programs to promote sustainability within the organisation. Make the sustainability journey concrete and visible by taking action in the workplace, whether it is by transforming office setups, changing the way energy and waste are managed or promoting sustainability-centric worklife habits – to drive this change. Even simple changes, such as using locally sourced coffee beans in office pantries can promote a culture of sustainability.

It is also important to work and collaborate with other businesses, even competitors, to build a larger movement and create systemic change. Collaborating for greater impact will extend reach and increase sustainability credibility. Whether it is waste reduction, carbon emissions or other goals, sustainability does not operate in a silo; the challenges are too big to tackle alone.

 

From choosing plant-based food, sourcing from local businesses or working with women-owned enterprises, businesses and organisations can set measurable targets and take concrete steps towards their sustainability goals. When companies partner with the wider community to make sustainability a part of business practices, we’re not only able to do our part for the planet but drive strong business outcomes as well.

Sian Petigny, Head, Health Safety Environment and Corporate Responsibility, Asia Pacific, Sodexo

To learn more, download the whitepaper below:

 

 

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