3 Insights to Take from Sustainability Live 2022

Aoife McCarthy, Executive, Digital Marketing & Membership, ICTI Ethical Toy Program

Aoife McCarthy, Executive, Digital Marketing & Membership, ICTI Ethical Toy ProgramThis month, we had the opportunity to attend the Sustainability Live 2022 conference held in Tobacco Dock, London. The 2-day event gathered 4,000 participants, both in-person & virtually to hear nearly 100 Keynote Speakers & Panellists, from various organisations and industries discuss pertinent sustainability topics. Although each Speaker & Panellist came from different organisations & industries, one issue appeared to unite them all: the business challenge to create positive impact on people, planet & profit. With changing climate, legislation and ever-rising consumer demand it is now more important than ever for organisations to successfully balance all three key areas. 25% of the world’s GDP is at risk in the next 10 years due to climate changeOn the first day of the Event, Supply Chain expert, Sheri Hinish, Global Sustainability Services Lead at IBM, quoted that only 35% of global organisations have actually taken action on an “E” (Environmental) sustainability strategy. This figure is particularly concerning when paired with BlackRock’s report that, due to climate change, 25% of the world’s GDP is at risk in the next 10 years. These figures only further stress the point that in order for businesses to thrive, survive, and turn a profit, in an everchanging economic and environmental landscape, the planet & people must be considered. As IETP is dedicated to advancing supply chain sustainability, here are examples of questions you could ask your business and suppliers to connect climate change to supply chain operations: "How do you or your supplier calculate energy consumption?;" "What are the sources of industrial wastewater in your supply chain? How is wastewater treated?;""Does your facility track its air discharge levels?" A company’s ESG rating is now just as important as its credit rating Marleen Oberheide, Lead Solutions Engineer at OneTrust ESG, shared that Investors and Funds are now turning up the heat on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance). We are now seeing more instances of Funds and Investors pulling their investments if organisations do not have an ESG Strategy in place, with more stringent requirements on climate impact reporting required by the European Fund and Asset Management Association introduced this year. This occurrence was further reiterated by Philip Vernardis , Vice President - Head of Asset Stewardship Reporting, State Street Global Advisors, who shared that in today’s climate, a company’s ESG rating is now as important as its credit rating to Investors.If you are in the process of developing or enhancing an ESG strategy, remember it’s important to measure and track your progress. There are many industry-wide sustainability programs available, choose one that allows you to export analytics and data for further reporting, as well as the flexibility to scale the measures to any business partner without geographic or categoric barriers, such as the Social Impact Assessment. Collaboration reduces costs & achieves moreThe event came to a close with Carmel Giblin, President & CEO of the ICTI Ethical Toy Program, virtual presentation of the topic: ‘Invest for Success’. She explained how C-suite individuals need to lead in shifting the paradigm from cutting compliance costs to making long term sustainable changes. She also shared how collaboration reduces costs & achieves more and is essential in effectuating widespread change. Carmel later spoke about the importance of ESG strategizing and shared a roadmap and criteria for organisations to use in order to identify their sustainability goals, stating each goal should be:Individual: Effective Sustainability goals reflect your business' activities and risk areas showing your commitment to reducing your negative impacts & increasing your positive oneAmbitious: Sustainability goals should be ambitious. Assign adequate resources to achieve your goalsEmpowering: achieving ambitious goals requires the effort of the entire organisation. Designate & empower leaders in your organisation to effectuate changeScientific: Ensure your goals are science & need-based, targeted and that results & impacts are measurable.IETP's CEO shares steps to set sustainability goals Various themes emerged from Sustainability Live 2022; the need for collaboration; the importance of ESG-strategizing; how technology is helping organisations facilitate change and; changing investment patterns. However, in order to become “transformational trailblazers”, echoing the phrase from Sheri Hinish’s presentation, we must now strategize and consider how our businesses can work together to make a positive impact on people, planet, & profit. For support to help you advance your ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) objectives, achieve supply chain sustainability, or to find ideas on how your business can make positive social impact, contact join@ethicaltoyprogram.org and find out how we can support your goals.