Insights from a recent panel discussion featuring Barbara Kux, a distinguished Swiss executive and management and supervisory board member of leading global corporates, and Stefano Aversa, Global Vice Chair at AlixPartners. 

At a point in time when there is no shortage of pressing global concerns, sustainability needs to be considered in the broader context of social, political and economic developments. When determining strategic sustainability priorities, it is crucial to adopt both a long-term perspective and an opportunity-driven approach. To shape your strategic agenda effectively, Barbara recommends considering the "3 Ps":

  • People: emphasize collaboration, diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Planet: take care of our natural surroundings and promote environmental stewardship
  • Profit: foster sustainable innovation and opportunities

However, achieving a balance between sustainability and business priorities can be challenging. Conflicting objectives and the ideological nature surrounding climate change need to be acknowledged. Sustainability is often perceived as a luxury that only a privileged few can afford, underscoring the importance of finding a balanced and pragmatic approach. In the face of growing global energy demand, the energy trilemma depicts the complex challenge of balancing the goals of energy availability, accessibility and affordability in Stefano's view.

As Barbara suggests, companies can turn sustainability into reality by identifying and capitalizing on business opportunities that align with their sustainability goals. Other success factors supporting impactful implementation of your sustainability agenda include engagement with stakeholders, including NGOs, involving younger teams, running pilot projects, and ensuring internal alignment through supplier selection, code of conduct and audits. Measuring results, too, can boost performance. To demonstrate to external stakeholders that you’re “walking the talk”, effective communication and adequate PR strategies are essential for showcasing sustainability efforts.

Here are our panelists’ top three sustainability priorities:

  1. Just do it. Strategy without execution is meaningless. Take action and implement your sustainability plans.
  2. Develop a specific plan, e.g., to reduce your individual CO2 emissions and consistently measure progress to make tangible improvements.
  3. Recognize your individual responsibility in protecting nature and the environment.

By embracing these insights, we can collectively create a better and more sustainable future and increase the attractiveness of our organizations at the same time.

At AlixPartners, we help our clients realizing the chances behind sustainability – with the right measures at the right time, “when it really matters”. In the context of sustainability, we leverage our hands-on experience in particular to enhance energy and resource usage in the context of supply chains, and to integrate sustainability considerations into overall business operations. Our proprietary “ShouldCarbon” approach has been designed to accelerate Scope 3 supplier emissions reduction in consumer products. Recognizing that sustainability, too, can go astray, our risk and compliance experts guide companies through the investigation and remediation of sustainability-related incidents. Our expertise seamlessly integrates with AlixPartners' strength in implementation, a distinguishing feature that senior executives consistently acknowledge and recognize.