Creating Sustainable Value in Your Company

A recent publication by Accenture—“Business at Its Best: Driving Sustainable Value Creation” (pdf)—provides advice and direction for companies looking for new ways to grow and reach high performance. Full of good information and available free, a brief synopsis of the publication follows.

What IS Sustainable Value Creation?

Sustainable Value Creation is a core business strategy focused on addressing fundamental societal issues by identifying new, scalable sources of competitive advantage that generate measurable profit and community benefit.

  • Core business strategy: one that addresses a threat or opportunity faced by the company that is critical to its long-term success.
  • Fundamental societal issues: things such as illiteracy, poverty, hunger or access to social services. Minimizing production waste, fostering employee wellness and lightening the social burden caused by a company’s product portfolio are not fundamental societal issues; they are inward focused, rather than outward focused.
  • New and scalable sources: ideas and solutions that are innovative and creative, considering previously unrecognized possibilities, and that can be replicated and scaled across the company to deliver whole-business impacts.
  • Competitive advantage: access to new or previously underserved markets, higher market capitalization, reduced costs, increased revenues and/or greater value of intangible assets.
  • Measurable: generates a quantifiable positive impact on both the business and on fundamental societal issues. There needs to be an accurate and timely assessment of ROI to justify the investment and resources expended.

Successful companies are good at generating profitable ideas, yet they often overlook business opportunities that can be found within fundamental societal issues. It is in the root causes of those issues that new competitive advantages may be found.

Executives who rethink products, services and community development efforts can identify benefits to society and to their businesses. While exploring opportunities, keep in mind that not every corporate obstacle or strategic issue is linked to a fundamental societal problem. A solution may only be found in philanthropy for some issues.

A business adviser and problem solver, Gail is managing director of Business Strategies Etc., which provides strategic marketing and business planning services and manages the execution of marketing communications tactics that help companies:
• Define their sustainability strategies,
• Deliver a positive, sustainable image,
• Gain credibility, trust and respect, and
• Measure the results of their green initiatives and actions.

Gail is a nationally recognized speaker on a wide range of subjects and brings enthusiasm and a unique blend of experience to the podium. As an industry analyst and journalist contributing to publications in the United States, Canada, India and Brazil, she has covered a number of beats, particularly sustainability in printing and mailing, print on demand, variable data printing and direct mail.
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