Sustain 2018: Now Is the Time to Transform Your Business

March 7, 2018 Anna Kapica-Harward


Sustain 2018 takes place exactly 20 months and 20 days before 2020. It will gather the community of sustainability and procurement professionals who see the urgency and share the vision that Now Is the Time” to take action and seize the advantages of a sustainable supply chain. Sustainable procurement is not just a nice-to-have but an integral function responsible for mitigating business risk, protecting and improving brand reputation, and driving revenue and innovation. This is the moment companies need to act and drive sustainable practices through the supply chain not just to avoid being left behind, but to seize the opportunity to transform their business.


Seize a Leadership Position

Companies that have not yet committed to sustainable practices will fall behind. A report by Unilever, a multinational that launched its Sustainable Living Plan six years ago, showed last year that Sustainable Living Brands grew over 50 percent faster than the rest of the business and delivered more than 60 percent of the growth in 2016. Meanwhile, the world’s largest furniture retailer Ikea recently saw a near three-fold increase in sustainable product sales. Continued consumer demand drives brands with purpose. If you act now, you still have a chance to catch up with those who launched effective sustainability programs three or more years ago.


Invest Wisely

Overall awareness and understanding of the value of sustainable procurement is greater than ever, with executives largely convinced of the benefits it brings to the company – and to the world. However, procurement teams still report that a lack of internal resources holds them back. This is the moment to bring all stakeholders on board, identify gaps, align on goals and launch an effective sustainable procurement plan.  


Reshape Your Brand

Customer sentiment is turning: A recent study showed that 33 percent of consumers choose to buy from brands they believe are making positive social and environmental impact. It also revealed that one in five of the respondents said they would actively choose brands if they made their sustainability credentials clearer, including information on their packaging and in the marketing materials. This means an estimated €966 billion opportunity for businesses that get it right. Response takes time. Transparency is the first step – the longer you wait, the harder it will be to compete.


Eradicate Modern Slavery

Awareness is increasing, but reports show that with human trafficking being the third most profitable criminal activity in the world, over 40 million people may be currently caught up in the grip of slavery. That is as much as about a quarter of the population of the U.S. or about the same as the number of people who live in Spain. A large proportion of the victims work in global supply chains. If you fail to place human rights at the center of your business, not only are you not helping eliminate abuse, but you may soon be outed in assessments such as the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark.


Credibly Demonstrate Purpose

Many companies tend to put sustainability at the core of their messaging but fail to demonstrate they are placing it behind their true purpose and lack effectiveness in terms of real change and impact. Studies show that people, particularly Millennials, want the companies they buy from to practice sustainable and ethical business – they want them to be transparent about how they operate in the world as they understand that their actions can affect what happens even in the most remote areas around the globe.  


Do Your Part

There is only so much that governments can do to mobilize stronger and more ambitious climate action to achieve the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Three years on and it looks like we are still in for a 3-degree Celsius rise in temperatures by the end of the decade, leading to disastrous climate changes across the world. Now the world is looking to the private sector to step up and demonstrate leadership. 

This is an opportunity you do not want to miss. Now Is the Time to make sure you are in the right place to seize the advantages of a sustainable supply chain.




Learn more about the program and who is speaking at the event.


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