If your business wants to be ready for the challenges of the future, it must become more sustainable. A sustainable business is efficient, productive, and successful. It understands its value chain and the impact of its actions upon the wider world. It knows the value of leading through influence, and it empowers its employees to become influencers. It also knows how to tap into its employee's and customers' beliefs and passions, so they are more committed to helping the business achieve its goals.
The world has changed.
It's a business that undertakes effective digital transformation.
It's a business that sets the pace, not follows it.
And it's a business that concentrates on building a legacy, so it will still be thriving in twenty, fifty, or a hundred years’ time.
But, to accomplish all of that, it needs to align itself with the Sustainable Development Goals. Why? Because aligning with the SDGs means the business will continue to grow in alignment with the challenges the world is facing. That's important because those are the same challenges its staff and customers are facing too.
The SDGs provide an invaluable benchmark against which a business can measure its success in the critical areas of environmental, social and governance. By building its culture around the SDG goals, a company will hire better and more motivated people, make greater efficiencies in how it operates, provide more innovative products and services, and meet and exceed the demands and expectations of its customers and shareholders
It's not just about becoming more ethically aware. As Unilever's Paul Polman said, the SDGs "represent the biggest business opportunity of our lifetime." That's because working within the SDGs will ensure your business continues to grow and provide value to its shareholders, staff, customers and partners for many, many years to come
The SDGs are our global legacy, and they will help you create your legacy.
But, before you can create a legacy, you need to know certain things:
how sustainable your business is right now, and what you can do to improve its sustainability
how to strategise and implement the necessary changes so that your business is ready for the demands of the future
how to continue growing, and open doors to new pathways and opportunities
The AG Audit
Our audit covers all aspects of your business, from investigating how your company operates and how the people inside your company work together, to deep diving inside your processes and procedures to increase performance and efficiency, to identifying opportunities for growth both internally and externally.
The SDGs are core to all of this, so our focus is to look at everything your business does through an SDG lens.
The initial audit
To begin with, we'll provide you with a 360-degree view of your entire business, emphasising processes, procedures, quality, health & safety, flow and operations. Our audit will highlight day-to-day issues from the shop floor to the boardroom, including financial targets, regulations and compliance, marketing, sales, service and staff development. If necessary, our audit can be designed to ensure your company meets quality management and industry-specific standards such as ISO 9000 and GRI.
The situational awareness gathered from all this information will allow us to provide invaluable feedback, guidance and advice. We will also provide you with a dashboard to overview the results of the audit, analyse your ongoing progress and synthesise new ideas.
The kind of information our audit uncovers will be invaluable when you’re planning your next digital transformation. In fact, sustainability and digital transformation are very close allies. With a combination of an audit and a digital transformation, your company will be able to identify the digital tools and services it needs to positively change the way you do business… and avoid the tools that will only throw you off track and waste your money. We’ll tell you more about digital transformation in the next article.
The audit will also help us form a strategy to align your business's goals and objectives with the requirements of sustainable development.
You don't have to undertake the strategy or digital transformation. That's entirely your decision. Some businesses may feel the audit has provided them with enough information to move forward on their own, without our support. However, our strategy incorporates all the tools, assistance, and clearly defined measurable metrics you'll need to make your success a certainty. Ultimately, it will also provide you with opportunities and pathways you might never otherwise have considered.
The strategy is usually broken down into three steps:
Step 1 addresses:
Pressing issues: addressing any glaring risks the audit uncovered which require immediate attention.
Preparation for growth: including connecting your business with the key strategic partners who can deliver what your business needs to achieve its wider objectives.
Step 2 covers:
Leaping into the future: launching your new solutions to the market and continuously monitoring, fine-tuning, and reviewing your progress.
We will oversee this process, providing your customers with a business dashboard that enables them to see how your business is performing against the metrics we identified following the audit.
Step 3 concentrates on:
Accelerating growth: pushing the envelope and transiting towards your next period of transformation.
That all depends on where your business wants to go. At this point you could be looking for investment, new partnerships or to expand into new markets. Whatever you want your next move to be, we can work with your new partners, stakeholders and investors to help you achieve it. The information we'll provide them with (which includes your initial audit, our review of your performance, and our projections for your future) will form the basis of any due diligence they undertake to determine your company's fitness as a sustainable business opportunity. As an impartial third party with a vested interest in your company's goals, we will act as a broker to ensure that, moving forward, your organisation will retain maximum value and longevity.
Why do an AG audit?
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the world has changed, and your business must change with it. Ignoring change isn't an option, not if you want your business to be sustainable and have a positive impact in the future. There are more risks involved in ignoring change than undertaking it.
But change also comes with inherent risks. Our service will help you mitigate those risks, improve sustainability, and see measurable returns. Even if your business doesn't currently have the culture or leadership to embrace change, we'll show you how to turn that thinking around to focus on the value of legacy.
Legacy is vitally important. Currently, governments, banks and investors are funding ethical or ESG aligned activities at an ever-growing rate. It's become increasingly attractive to invest in legacy because those are the businesses which show progressive, long-term returns.
An AG audit is the first step towards attracting that support and opening the doors to lucrative new funding streams… opportunities that won't be available if your company doesn't make sustainable changes. The benchmarks set out by our audit will prove the progress you've made in making those changes happen. It will show the impact you're having right now, and it will confidently project your impact in the future. As a result, you will be a leader of influence in your sector, producing work that is beneficial for your company and enriching for the wider society.
The UN set the world a challenge – to achieve all 17 SDG goals by 2030. We want to help as many business leaders as possible make that happen – not just for the benefit of their organisations, but to build a better world for generations to come.
We hope you'll want to achieve that too, and we hope we can be a part of it.
An AG audit is where it starts.