After a two-year break of the pandemic, the World Economic Forum in Davos meets again to understand what's top of mind for the private sector. With all the unfortunate events in the past year, the climate and sustainability agenda are still featuring in a third of all sessions. If anything, this year has highlighted even more the intricate connections between decisions we make today and their effects on global stability tomorrow.
The term ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) was first coined in 2005 and after a return to prominence in 2018, investors are now asking whether it can be the answer to truly understanding the complex interlinkages between how a company decides to run the business, its impact, and its risks or returns.
These are big questions, but anyone can be part of the solution. As we’re still learning how to properly integrate sustainability into our business, Here's what we're doing at Mambu today. Hopefully you can apply some of the following to your business too!
KNOW YOUR IMPACTS
Sustainability topics can include a great many. To understand what's most material to us and to inform our sustainability roadmap, we analysed where our largest negative impacts were and where we could make the greatest positive impact. This balance is extremely important - many companies jump straight to the positive stories, ignoring the more problematic areas that require difficult, and sometimes unpopular changes. For example, offsets of GHG emissions is a popular topic at Mambu, but reductions of emissions are much harder because they require changing the way we meet, buy, code, and supply electricity to our offices.
Your employees, customers, investors, and the regulator will all have different views, expectations, and levels of knowledge about sustainability. Involve them in your impact assessment process early, and balance their views against your impacts when defining priority areas. There are a variety of ways to do this - at Mambu, we ran several internal surveys that helped us identify sustainability issues that were top-of-mind for employees. We had conversations with representatives from all functions to understand pain points and expectations. We then analysed the upcoming sustainability and ESG regulation and discussed the strategy and roadmap with the board.
GET THE EXECUTIVE TEAM ON BOARD
Secure oversight and responsibility for your sustainability strategy at the C-suite level, else it will remain a siloed effort, disconnected from business strategy, operations, and overall decision-making. When your business is ready, consider introducing sustainability targets for business units and departments or incentives like remuneration linked to sustainability performance. We established a Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Committee comprising members of its executive leadership early on. The committee oversees the management of Mambu's corporate responsibility matters and sustainability impact, and reports about its progress to the board.
BUILD ON SHARED VALUES
Find common touch points between the work that different teams do and your sustainability program, and build actions and programs on those. Don't talk to software engineers about travel, talk about what they know and love - stack development and its footprint. Our Sales teams love thinking through opportunities in sustainable finance and financial inclusion, whereas our marketing team is working on initiatives to reduce the footprint of our website. And very important: celebrate! Even the smallest changes come through the hard work of employees who challenge the status quo and take the space in their agendas and minds to do things differently. Celebrate this courage and be proud of the impact you can make as one global team.
On this note, some of our successes for this year include:
- A continuous reduction of our carbon footprint per employee compared to the 2019 baseline even as we continue to expand and finesse our GHG inventory.
- A 1,2% relative increase in train travel compared to the 2019 baseline and a 23-fold increase in train travel on destinations we have targeted with our travel policy.
- At least 500 people supported through volunteering activities and EUR 180K raised in funds to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
- 90% of new joiners receive sustainability training.
Check back with us next year, or share your success stories!