Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, individuals around the world have re-evaluated what is important to them, with an increased focus on people and the environment. This has had a huge impact on personal and professional lives.
Doing good, feeling good
During the first UK lockdown, many of us leaned heavily on video calling platforms as a way of maintaining connection, with online quizzes often the activity of choice. Alongside this, more and more positive initiatives have gained momentum, including Clap for Heroes (formerly Clap for Carers), Marcus Rashford’s free school meals push, and an increased focus on mental health for all.
The number of people volunteering for good causes has also increased significantly since the pandemic, with organisations including the Red Cross gaining “hundreds of thousands of new volunteers across the world”. Not only has this had a hugely positive impact on charities and communities, it has also boosted volunteers’ wellbeing through creating a sense of purpose, belonging and togetherness (source: LSE).
Now the business world is returning to an albeit ‘new’ normal, peoples’ focus on doing good and having a positive impact is being brought into workplaces. Businesses are refreshing elements of their working model, placing an increased focus on environmental impacts, supply chains, and data security. Consequently, ESG (environmental, social and governance) credentials are becoming more popular.
The value of ESG
As well as the rewarding sense of achievement and positive impact that putting people first can have, being actively conscious of social and human rights (part of the ‘S’ in ESG), along with environmental matters (the ‘E’), can have huge financial rewards for businesses. Overall, it creates a higher sense of value – both personally and professionally; for you and your firm.
Of course, many aspects of business development remain unchanged. Budget and finances continue to hold high importance, but there has been a definite shift towards widening business aims and targets within those budgets. Financial cost and value are no longer mutually exclusive; value is now a much wider concept.
In fact, ESG has numerous benefits due to the accountability it creates within firms. It is no longer enough to say that you are running great initiatives; companies have to prove their worth. This links to all areas of ESG, but is most apparent in the ‘G’ (for ‘governance’). By incorporating an ESG strategy into your firm, it’s easier to set up risk management platforms across the whole of your business – something that partners will be pleased to see. You will probably find that it’s not as daunting as you might initially think; chances are you are already doing a lot of ESG-related activity without a formal structure or specific policies in place.
At The BD Consultancy, we have witnessed and been a part of many of the same changes and challenges as others. This has inspired us to set up our own ESG offering, enabling us to be even better as a company. As part of this, and because we have always placed a huge emphasis on employee wellbeing, we have signed the charter for ‘Employers Positive about Mental Health’ making us an official ‘Mindful Employer’. We also have a very exciting initiative up our sleeves that we are hoping to launch in the next few months. This will bring marketing and BD leaders like you together to create real, positive change; watch this space…