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Sustainability in professional services

Sustainability in professional services
Hiten Patel

By Hiten Patel

16 Jun 2022

Sustainability is quickly becoming a top priority across the corporate landscape. It’s no longer a question for tomorrow. It’s today’s necessity. As a financial professional, you have a crucial part to play in creating a sustainable future.

A shift in leadership is at the forefront of a successful approach to sustainability within professional services. Progressive leaders are ones that are able to recognise that corporate sustainability is an opportunity for the creation of value, and an avenue for growth for their business and their clients. Employee education and engagement to the sustainability cause is crucial to this.

Professional services firms also have a significant level of influence over key-industry players, as they can facilitate and influence a client’s move into sustainability, providing the tools and support needed.

How has changing client opinion driven the move to sustainability?

SMEs are our predominant client base, and the key is for us to manage how new climate legislation/targets will filter down to the SMEs from the big global companies. All companies will at some point need to report on carbon emissions and sustainability goals.

There’s an increasing need for professional services to align with their clients’ social and business outlook, as clients are increasingly looking to professional services to help them achieve their sustainability strategies.

What are the key challenges in the move toward corporate sustainability?

Often, what holds companies back is their culture and hierarchy. Hearing from voices in younger generations and minorities can often offer diverse and progressive ways of thinking to a company and bring about new opportunities. More integrated and open lines of communication within firms on topics like sustainability are essential for implementing meaningful and holistic change.

Also, resources and money is a continual challenge in corporate sustainability. For SMEs to make even a small difference they need people to implement the change as well as money to support the change, such as a consultant to review their current carbon emissions and advise on how to reduce them.

What are Gerald Edelman doing to tackle sustainability?

Having stronger sustainability credentials is fast becoming increasingly important to our clients, employees and stakeholders alike and as chair of the committee, I am looking forward to driving the process for Gerald Edelman, becoming a more sustainable business.

To get started, we have conducted a firmwide survey in order to establish our carbon hotspots that will benchmark and measure our environmental impact and carbon footprint in the year 2021. We now have our findings and will be using these to devise a reduction strategy that will help us work towards our goals.

As a firm, we are excited about the work our committee will be driving, and are very much committed to becoming more sustainable in our processes and playing our part in reducing carbon emissions and the damage to our natural environment in future years.


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