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The rise of the eco-partner: Agilitas

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Facing inflation, consumer activism and supply chain pressure, companies have got to evolve their strategies in the face of change. Technology plays a huge role in this. Richard Eglon, Chief Marketing Officer at Agilitas discusses how the right partnership can improve internal sustainability while making the technology more sustainable.

It goes without saying that in today’s fast-paced Technology Channel, partners must constantly improve their service level to help businesses survive and thrive. As a result, many companies have shifted from traditional consultants to business advisors who can assist in addressing the changing landscape and driving digital transformation.

A large part of this is due to a greater emphasis on sustainability, as ESG credentials are increasingly at the forefront of business strategies.

Organisations must now consider how they evaluate partnerships and hold partners accountable to the evolving sustainability agenda. This has resulted in the rise of eco-partners, who work with businesses to transform the supply chain and implement new initiatives that make the industry more sustainable without significantly increasing costs.

There are over 20 cities in the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, that are aiming to minimise GHG emissions by 80% by 2050. These are the types of initiatives that corporate partnerships should attempt to mirror.

To establish a more sustainable alliance, all parties must agree on a mission and business ethos, with a particular emphasis on a purpose-led mindset that goes beyond profit.

To effect real change, businesses must involve the entire team from top to bottom, with a strong emphasis on organisational structure and clearly defined responsibilities. Companies in the Technology Channel must also provide consistent progress updates and respond appropriately when metrics are off track or require adjustment.

The future of the planet relies on businesses making changes and collaborating to make a difference across the entire ecosystem. Although 90% of business leaders think sustainability is important, only 60% of companies have a sustainability strategy.

Engage Members Across The Value Chain

Companies’ supply chain activities will have far-reaching consequences for the environment, the food crisis, gender empowerment, global economic opportunity, and the overall success of the global sustainable development agenda.

Supply chain sustainability and resilience are important business concerns.  Recent worldwide supply chain disruptions triggered by COVID-19 have proven our systems’ fragility and the disastrous ripple effects supply shocks may have on a business, communities, and the environment.

Corporate-led sustainability alliances that include a diverse collection of value chain participants and ensure that members from throughout the value chain are represented and active in decision-making forums— are four times more likely to accomplish impact at scale.

Inclusive and active membership enables higher buy-in to the alliance’s operations, which is especially crucial for coalitions that need to modify standard operating procedures up and down the industry’s value chain.

Prioritising the value chain segments that have the greatest impact on tackling common sustainability concerns is imperative.

Working Outside Company Borders Accelerates Innovation

From expediting Net Zero transitions to establishing more sustainable value chains, technology is a critical facilitator of sustainability. According to a new study, firms with the most sophisticated sustainable technology plans do better overall. These organisations use technology to facilitate and grow sustainability often while making technology itself more sustainable.

To deliver on the promise of sustainable technology, CIOs must sit at the sustainability table. They must work together with other leaders to find the technology that will assist the organisation in meeting its sustainability goals. At the same time, they must address the technology’s environmental and societal implications.

Corporate-led sustainability alliances that promote innovation via joint R&D and financial allocation to sustainability solutions are 2.5 times more likely to have substantial potential to make an impact at scale. This is especially vital for collaborations in difficult-to-address industries because achieving climate objectives often necessitates significant technical innovation.

Alliances should employ a portfolio strategy to guarantee that their innovation focuses on both short- and long-term sustainability solutions. The organisation must guarantee that members’ intellectual property is adequately secured from the start.

Coalitions can seek broader support beyond financial contributions when mobilising capital to harness members’ strengths, such as mentorship, expert advisers, access to labs and facilities, and pilot opportunities.

Enlist External Expertise

To get started, most partnerships require the assistance of a facilitator. When organisations join forces, they each bring their own set of incentives, prejudices, and corporate cultures. These can collide. Conflict is more likely when the companies are rivals or come from entirely different industries and cultures.

The first few months are notoriously difficult. Members are frequently hesitant to commit personnel, preferring to wait for others to contribute resources first. The partnership can proceed even when personnel is still being negotiated by pooling funds for a facilitator.

Corporate-led sustainability alliances that involve cross-sector partners with significant knowledge, such as university researchers and third-party certification organisations, to assist core alliance activities were twice as likely to have a large-scale effect.

These specialists serve as partners in accountability and give external validity. This is especially vital for alliances that conduct cooperative research initiatives, assure supply chain programme verification, or allow data exchange.

Unity Is Strength

As organisations embark on their sustainable transition, they must comprehend how to harness current relationships and recognise when it is opportune to join or develop new alliances.

Companies may participate in collective action to advance the common good and uncover new sources of competitive advantage by utilising collaborative technology, seeking out experts, and involving all parties in the supply chain.

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