S&Z supports you in conducting materiality analyses and in determining the initial need for action. Based on our expertise, from more than 120 successfully completed materiality analyses, we are able to customize our approach to the needs of mid-sized companies, as well as global corporations of all levels of experience.
Companies face a variety of CR and sustainability topics. At the same time, resources are limited. The key questions revolve around which topics should be addressed at the highest priority levels to maintain a competitive position in the market, and which topics should be set aside to free up resources.
A materiality analysis is the appropriate tool to prioritize CR and sustainability topics. It should be the foundation for both strategy development, as well as sustainability reporting.
S&Z supports you in status assessments, evaluating the sustainability performance of your organization, and in determining potential gaps.
A status assessment should be the starting point for any systematic approach concerning CR and sustainability. Companies are involved in a multitude of activities in these areas already, however, not necessarily following a systemic approach. Using competitor benchmarks and a trend analysis helps us to understand: What topics are addressed by relevant competitors and to which degree? How do companies use their leadership role in sustainability for differentiation in the market? We identify potential gaps in a joint workshop and help determine the path forward for your organization.
S&Z supports you in defining strategic objectives and operational targets, measures, and metrics.
Strategically positioning a corporation successfully with regard to corporate responsibility requires a holistic approach, using a state-of-the-art methodology. The corporate strategy has to contain clearly defined aspiration levels and specific, realistic, and measurable CR objectives. These objectives have to be matched with the necessary measures for implementation. This systematic, iterative process should involve all relevant staff and line functions within the company. The results of the materiality analysis are the starting point for developing strategic objectives.
S&Z develops a company-specific process to develop strategy and objectives, as well as to determine measures. We guide you in identifying the relevant managers and employees who should be involved. We can act as a sparring partner across all project steps, if desired on-site.
S&Z supports you in planning the strategy implementation, which includes defining roles, responsibilities, organizational structures, and reporting lines. If desired, we can support our clients throughout the entire implementation process.
Implementing strategic CR objectives consistently calls for certain requirements in organizational structures and processes to be fulfilled.
In the medium term, every employee should understand CR measures as part of their area of responsibility and not as a voluntary add-on that can be dealt with at lower priority. In order to reach this, specific CR objectives and measures should be integrated in established work flow and planning processes. The degree of target fulfillment should be checked periodically by a suitable corporate function. This level of integration typically requires time in order to reach this type of thinking across the corporation. Furthermore, the integration requires cooperation across department boundaries.
Since CR and sustainability topics often touch multiple departments in organizations, setting up a competence center (in corporations) or placing the responsibility with a specific employee (in small or mid-sized companies) can be a suitable approach. This function should report directly to the board of directors or the managing director, respectively.
The description of the roles and responsibilities covers both the development and/or refinement of the strategy, as well as management control, which determines whether operational targets have been met at each location.
Furthermore, we recommend setting up a committee, including the main business units and cross-cutting functions, with regular meetings and a pre-defined agenda.
Last but not least, successful implementation requires efficient reporting structures and processes which are capable of collecting and assessing metrics and other information at different levels of aggregation.