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Balancing profits and responsibility

Acting responsibly, as well as respecting people and the environment, need to be built into the broader business model. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Acting responsibly, as well as respecting people and the environment, need to be built into the broader business model. Photo: Shutterstock.com

A significant part of the current debate on the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations Development Programme now revolves around the fact that the value created by companies, and their ecosystems, cannot be understood by relying solely on financial indicators. Yet the difficulty lies in how to provide verifiable information on the intangible value created by companies.

Mazars, the global international audit and advisory firm, has been a longstanding partner and advocate of the SDGs. Mazars is the gold sponsor of the 2018 Global Goals Yearbook – a publication published on September 3 under the auspices of the Macondo Foundation, in support of the SDGs and the advancement of corporate sustainability globally. The yearbook offers in-depth information on key sustainability issues and promotes comprehensive knowledge-exchange and learning in the spirit of the SDGs and the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact.

The yearbook helps to advance corporate transparency, promotes the sharing of good business practices, and, perhaps most significantly, gives a strong voice to the regional and global stakeholders that are at the heart of the sustainability agenda.

If CSR is seen only as a compliance matter, it remains a cost

This year’s edition, ‘Partnerships for the Goals’, discusses the many aspects of how private-sector engagement can be improved. Recommendations include, among others, a revision of multilateralism, partnership models and processes, as well as investing more in trust, a failure culture, as well as metrics and monitoring.

In an article published in the yearbook the Mazars Sustainability Leadership Team, which comprises Edwige Rey from France, Jerome Devillers from the US, Kai M. Beckmann from Germany and Richard Karmel from the UK, demonstrated the link between sustainability and profitability.

The multifaceted and complex nature of non-financial reporting, as well as all the diverse parameters involved, are not always obvious for companies. For instance, taking the example of water, Devillers wrote: “Without a proper understanding of a company’s operational dependence on water – or of its suppliers’ dependence on water sources – companies are at risk of destroying value for shareholders and exposing themselves to major reputational risks.”

Therefore, it is only when companies take into consideration the entire scope of their impact on society, can they understand the undeniable link between the health of their communities and their long-term growth prospects. If Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is seen only as a compliance matter, it remains a cost, and little value is achieved.

Mazars believes in doing ‘Business. For Good’. It sees it as its duty to work towards a more inclusive, responsible and sustainable world. It helps business leaders to think and act long term to enhance business performance and pursue profit responsibly for the benefit of companies, their stakeholders and the wider society. Through knowledge, tools, and services, ‘Business. For Good’ was built to help Mazars itself, its clients and stakeholders become sustainable actors at all levels.

With global experts able to respond to increasing challenges within a more demanding and disparate CSR regulatory system, Mazars believes it is in a position to serve and advise ever more complex clients.

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