Creating a Sustainable Organisation

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According to Google Trends, the term ‘sustainability’ has steadily grown in popularity worldwide since early 2022. Chartered Manager, Eman Deabil (DipESG, PfMP, IPMO-P, SIP), explains the concept and breaks down how we can create a sustainable organisation.

In my article published in last month’s edition of Woman This Month, I spoke about sustainability in general and the rise of the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) role. I also gave you a glimpse at the history of the GCC as far as ESG is concerned. In this edition, we will cover high-level plans on how to create a sustainable organisation by looking at the organisation’s operating model.

Before I put things into perspective, let’s first explore the terminologies below:
Sustainability: This is a broader concept of how to ensure driving value over a long period of time by looking at different aspects.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG, for short): A term that was officially coined in 2004 with the publication of the United Nations report titled “Who Cares Wins”.
ESG normally represents the three pillars that we need to set plans and KPIs to ensure sustainability. It became the terminology used for the reporting side of sustainability. The three pillars, along with a few examples, are:

1. Environmental: Factors related to how an organisation has an impact on nature such as climate, carbon emissions, biodiversity, water, electricity, waste, and paper.
2. Social: Factors related to how an organisation manages its relationships with its employees, customers, suppliers, and communities where it operates, such as training, inclusion, diversity, and equality.
3. Governance: Factors related to how an organisation is led and managed, such as board independence, transparency, diversity, and whistleblowing.
In many publications and literature, both terminologies (i.e., ESG and Sustainability) are being used interchangeably, and here they will be used interchangeably as well.

Operating model: This defines how an organisation operates to achieve its objectives and deliver value to its customers. In general, it encompasses four main components: processes, organisation, technology and information (POTI).

Below are a few steps to start the journey of building a sustainable organisation by looking at the operating model components. Having said that, these components are interrelated and overlap.

Now let’s look at the operating model with an ESG lens:

The above is just a brief blueprint on how to create a sustainable organisation; however, with sustainability comes innovation. The more we believe in creating long-term value, the more we become innovative in coming up with ideas that serve this purpose.