Nowadays most companies have sustainability programs. They are cutting carbon emissions, reducing waste, nurturing their talents and workforce, and otherwise enhancing operational efficiency. But a mishmash of sustainability tactics does not add up to a sustainable and impactful strategy. To endure and be effective, a strategy must address first, and then manage, the complex and unfolding relationships between the shareholders and all the other stakeholders along the value creation process that characterize every organization.
Companies understand this, but too often they approach this journey by launching programs with the hope that they will be financially rewarded for “doing good,” even when the issues they address are not relevant to their strategy and operations. Largely missing from these efforts is a clear understanding of the very real trade-offs that exist between financial and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance when sustainability is integrated in the business models. The capital markets know this only too well. As a result, they don’t reward firms for ESG programs that are not material for the Business, and they tend to punish those whose programs—relevant or not—depress financial results. Building on previous events in Rome (2016 and 2018) and in New York (2017), the objective of the Workshop is to engage business organizations, investors, policy-makers, NGOs, professional bodies, consultants, and academics in conversations around creating long-term value through integrated management of economic, environmental, social and governance factors. Making sustainable and impactful strategy happen requires companies to align purpose with performance. It requires to connect values and value through the implementation of inclusive business models where materiality fuels processes of innovation as organizations move from “Business as Usual” to BUSINESS2030.