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Firms urged to 'arm themselves' with sustainability skills

Firms urged to 'arm themselves' with sustainability skills

Firms urged to 'arm themselves' with sustainability skills

Businesses that want to maximise their chances of achieving future growth and success need to "arm themselves" with sustainability skills.

That's according to the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA), which recently announced that it was focusing on sustainability performance "on an international scale" by providing additional support and recognition for its members.

There are many things companies of all sizes can do within their organisations to prepare for the future and enhance energy efficiency.

Possible measures range from small steps like encouraging more recycling and running a 'switch off' campaign for all office equipment, to bigger commitments like making the move to renewable energy sources.

It's also important for environmentally conscious firms to ensure they work with eco-friendly, responsible service providers.

Initiatives and policies such as these are likely to grow in importance over the coming years and decades, with businesses set to play an increasingly central role in reducing harmful emissions and protecting the environment.

Discussing the significance of these issues, Tim Balcon, chief executive officer of IEMA, said employing people with environment and sustainability skills is likely to prove "critical" to the future survival of many enterprises.

"The fact that the world is changing is undeniable," he noted. "Businesses everywhere are having to adapt to secure their own survival. Arming themselves with the right sustainability skills across their operations is the only viable way to go.

"In order to support organisations everywhere to survive and remain future-proof, IEMA has changed. We are leading the profession and we supply the right skills to business."

The important part the business world will have to play in global sustainability was recently underlined in a study from professional services firm Accenture, in collaboration with the United Nations Global Compact, the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative.

Research showed that nearly nine out of ten chief executives (87 per cent) see UN sustainable development goals as a crucial opportunity to rethink approaches to sustainability.

Around half (49 per cent) of the corporate leaders surveyed thought businesses would be central to the fulfilment of these objectives.

Lise Kingo, executive director of the UN Global Compact, said the development goals provided companies with a "clear and universal roadmap to make global goals local business".

Peter Lacy, managing director of Accenture Strategy, said: "As globalisation and digital disruption raise the bar for business, CEOs around the world are embracing the opportunity to transform how we live, work and play. They see the need to reshape approaches and business models to support a responsible and sustainable global economy."

One aspect of business that is likely to prove increasingly important as firms strive to achieve greater sustainability is technology.

Three-quarters (75 per cent) of chief executive officers said digital innovations enabled more sustainable business models.

Posted by William Rodriquez

Image courtesy of iStock/MonkeyBusinessImages