Fuente: Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance
Autor: Peter Gassmann and Will Jackson-Moore, PricewaterhouseCoopers
The narrative of that journey must demonstrate considerable coherence, which can emerge only as companies find their best-fitting strategic stance on ESG and tie it explicitly to value creation. Companies that pursue a strategically clear stance (or true north) toward ESG can help investors and other stakeholders understand the boundaries or guardrails of their company—what they’ll do with regard to ESG, where they’ll play, and which capabilities they’ll develop themselves (versus looking to ecosystem partners to provide), while clarifying decisions and resource allocation. Because a good articulation of your true north helps make clear the unique value your company creates for customers and society, it enables the creation of the coherent narrative investors need. Is your entire corporate strategy defined by ESG? Is your strategy to simply conform with legal and regulatory requirements? Or is your stance somewhere in between?
Getting your ESG stance right helps you think through another key consideration: the business ecosystems of which you are and should be a part. Why ecosystems? Because competition is increasingly won or lost on the basis of ecosystems. These networks of companies and institutions help coordinate multiple participants, which may offer the only way to tackle complex, far-reaching challenges such as ESG (in part by helping mitigate strategic, regulatory, and other forms of risk). Ecosystems are growing ever more relevant to how companies create and capture value. Yet many of the ecosystems needed to advance ESG goals—such as those in transportation and energy, or those working to reduce Scope 3 emissions in supply chains—are only in the early stages of formation or will need to be built from scratch.
To shape the development of new and existing ecosystems and access the value pools emerging around them, many companies will need to develop, perhaps for the first time, the ability to manage the interplay between their organization and the ecosystems in which they participate. This ability goes beyond the ad hoc approaches to partnering most companies have taken in the past. In this article, we’ll describe how to get your strategic stance right and how to build the ecosystem capabilities you need to handle ESG risks and target emerging pools of value.
The good news is that by participating in ecosystems, you don’t have to provide and scale all the capabilities for ESG on your own. You can access the capabilities others are building—the complex combinations of talent, technology, processes, and insight that ecosystem partners provide. Once you do, you can look to refine the ways in which your company represents itself to investors and other stakeholders. In the ESG world, as elsewhere, winning narratives help mobilize investment and ecosystem participants in commonly beneficial directions.
Momentum is building as major ESG success stories develop. Look at Neste, an oil refiner and marketer based in Finland that has made a big push into renewable fuels. It formed a high-profile partnership with McDonald’s and built an ecosystem around it—one company collects the oil used by McDonald’s for frying, along with other animal fat waste; another transports it to Neste, which processes the materials into diesel fuel that it then sells to a trucking company partner. Neste has since established similar partnerships to collect used cooking oil, including with Dallas–Fort Worth Airport. Neste also invested €1.4 billion (US$1.37 billion) in a refinery in Singapore to increase the company’s output of renewable fuels by as much as 1.3 million tons a year. Such investments have let Neste revamp its brand and develop the narrative needed to be seen as a sustainable company that is pioneering ways to turn food waste into a feedstock.
But your own success story starts with defining your strategic stance toward ESG. That’s where we’ll dive in first, before helping you think through your ecosystem approach, the capabilities you need, and the narrative you’ll construct to represent it all.