Responsible Business in a post-COVID world
A unique opportunity to integrate social value
As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, global companies will reorganise their operations to focus on resilience and risk mitigation. Deloitte's Responsible Business (RB) approach helps clients take a holistic view of risk management centred on social responsibility, while maximizing value creation and return on investment (ROI).
The imperative for business responsibility is growing
There is growing political and social pressure on businesses to prioritise sustainability in their operations. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are global objectives, but local political initiatives like the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative and the EU Green Deal illustrate the growing demand by society for transformation. Corporations are now facing more scrutiny than ever into their social and environmental stewardship and are expected to transition toward a more sustainable future.
Today's society is far more well-informed than in the past thanks to the progress in technology and improvements in the flow of information. Companies therefore need to be far more conscious about the impact of their business along the entire value chain. Business cannot continue to rely on one-off 'feel good' corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives without aligning their strategies to responsible values and integrating them into their daily operations.
Swiss businesses struggle with application of responsible values
According to a recent joint Deloitte-Swiss VR Monitor study of more than 430 Swiss Executive Board members in various sizes of company and different industries, they are facing major problems with the prioritisation and implementation of CSR-related initiatives. Almost 4 in 10 respondents do not believe their CSR programs have sufficient resources and talent to execute their agendas successfully, although 9 in 10 respondents understand the value of CSR programs for their companies.
The survey results suggest that CSR initiatives in their current form are struggling to generate the intended benefits. Companies are setting their CSR agendas in an isolated and uncoordinated fashion, which is detached from business operations and broader corporate strategy. As long as companies are unwilling or unable to change this mind-set, they risk medium-term difficulties with compliance and financial issues and in the longer term, it could damage their competitive positioning.
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Deloitte’s approach to Responsible Business
Deloitte’s approach to Responsible Business is based on a holistic end-to-end transformation, from strategy definition to operational integration. It embeds responsible values into the identity and day-to-day operations of the business, rather than treating them as isolated CSR initiatives. In doing so, companies are able to not only create a positive social impact, but also maximise ROI and capture internal value at the same time. At times, Responsible Business can call for the complete redefinition of a company’s internal strategy in order to articulate a distinct purpose.
Our focus is on 6 key steps to help our clients define, identify and implement meaningful CSR transformations in their organisations – to ensure a lasting focus on value capture as part of their corporate DNA:
- Define your purpose, explaining your ambition for sustainable value creation for stakeholders
- Develop strategic objectives based on updated materiality assessments
- Identify and prioritise stakeholders through close engagement, while building trust
- Prioritise initiatives for value creation and establish respective governance measures
- Define KPIs, manage value drivers and start measuring the ROI
- Embed Responsible Business priorities within the entire organisation and place it high on the agenda for good governance.
Deloitte supported a client in the consumer goods industry, which was subject to increasing global regulation concerning extended producer responsibility (EPR), and which wanted to address consumer-related issues about product returns in the design and implementation of a reverse logistics program.
Deloitte focused a program on a philosophy of product and environmental stewardship, as the client’s ambition was to reduce returns from customers through detailed failure analysis, and also to prioritize its ambitions for a circular economy by recycling 100 percent of customer returns.
Deloitte supported a client in its ambition to conduct business only with third parties that met its high ethical standards. The scope of the program took into consideration the potential requirements under the upcoming Swiss Responsible Business Initiative (RBI) toward implementing an ethical value chain.
Deloitte assisted the client with the design and global implementation of a process to assess, qualify and manage its third parties. The result was enhanced transparency and accountability for the client's supply network and risk management framework.
Marcel leads the Deloitte’s Investment Management practice for Audit & Assurance in Switzerland. He has more than 13 years of experience in auditing and advising domestic and international clients in the Investment Management industry. Marcel has worked extensively with regulated Swiss and Liechtenstein clients as well as alternative investment fund structures such as Private Equity and Hedge Fund managers and companies in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Lukas is a Manager in the Risk Advisory department in Zürich with profound experience in assessing third party advisory and managing operational, regulatory and reputational risks associated with third party relationships and outsourced services. He possesses multiple cross-industry project experiences in Ethical Value Chain and Sustainability and has provided services to clients in the Industrial and Life Sciences industries.