The Future of Business Is Sustainability: Forrester on Sustainable Transformation

A meeting to discuss the key factors of sustainable transformation, with a new competitive advantage possible only with leadership capable of involving all stakeholders in transversal and innovative methodology

The Gruppo SCAI management had the pleasure of participating in The Future of Business is Sustainability, an event organised by Forrester Research on 16 June in Milan. It is now clear that sustainability must be a central theme for every company board and every CEO. Assisting a company with sustainable transformation means choosing a tangible systemic approach comprising best practices that build trust in consumers, suppliers and partners. Actions must create a competitive advantage both for employees and on the market.

The presenters were Thomas Husson (Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester) who spoke on Sustainability is the next wave of business transformation, Lauretta Filangieri (Group Insurance Head of Sustainability, Intesa Sanpaolo Vita), with ESG is not a trend, but a paradigm shift in thinking and doing business, Ryan Skinner (Principal Analyst, Forrester) on ESG’s impact on your communications, and Abhijit Sunil (Analyst, Forrester) with Technology Optimisation: Your Secret Weapon for Sustainability.

It was an opportunity for Gruppo SCAI to get an update on the opportunities that technology can offer in terms of value proposition as well as ethical and sustainable internal processes and change management.

The United Nations 2030 Agenda has defined 17 closely interrelated and sustainable development goals. They range from climate change to fundamental human rights, from water access to gender equality, from education to the construction of resilient infrastructures.

Husson describes how companies’ pursuit of these objectives is indispensable when considering the real sustainable revolution that will affect the market. These are transversal and long-term objectives with all levels of society contributing, be they customers, employees, partners or shareholders, with a view to strong and interdependent relationships between companies and civil society. In this worldview, only leading companies that adopt sustainable business and operational models will continue to be competitive:

• by attracting and keeping talent through the enhancement of differences and a recognisable value system, especially concerning Generation Z;

• by improving brand reputation through transparency and the creation of customer trust as the new currency for a sustainable economy;

• by strengthening stakeholder relations and creating engagement mechanisms to understand needs and build shared objectives.

Filangieri went into the merits of ESG not as a trend or simplistic “sense of goodwill” but as a real paradigm shift in thinking and doing business. She focussed on the importance of an integrated ethical approach to make products, investments and risk metrics evolve and have an active role in creating a tangible impact on the transition of the real economy. The speech described the impact of environmental responsibility and sustainability as critical initiatives for business and in the internal and external company value chain.

Data proposed by Forrester show that the “ROI of sustainability” will give tangible monetary returns if the balance between sustainable and fiscal rationales can be optimised. Sustainability-oriented companies record better financial results than their competitors. This can be measured both in terms of incremental profits (customers choose suppliers with a strong focus on sustainability) and a better employee experience (higher retention equals more efficient costs). There is also a reduction in capital costs as investors tend to prefer sustainable investments.

Skinner discussed how to make the communication of ESG activities efficient, consistent and authentic. Sunil highlighted the key role of IT leaders in identifying new ways of driving change through emerging technologies such as AI, Blockchain and IoT, by making them as sustainable as possible at the design stage.

Our company, active in the ICT sector, is determined to form a work culture based on a sustainability and innovation win-win relationship.