Sustainable business

Don’t just sway along.
Control the flow.

Sustainability means a holistic and long-term perspective on business risks, resilience, opportunities

A company, we commonly presume, is composed of three parts: product, processes and people. Assessing success has more often focused on still another “P” – profit.  

Often cited, Milton Friedman proposed that the only social responsibility of business was to maximize profits.[1] In 2021 times when business of business was business are gone.

An integrated perspective of corporate social responsibility has prevailed in expectations of lenders, insurers, clients and reflected in regulation.  Businesses start assessing the relevant and define most material Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks of the business model. 

Sustainability is no longer a negative externality of little importance to firm’s bottom-line.[2]Integrated reporting that includes a structured overview of firm’s ESG relevant performance and, coming, accounting standards[3] and regulation becomes the norm internationally, in many of Latvian firm’s lead export markets.

What happened in 2020 is then perhaps a strong sign that climate action is starting to be “institutionalized”— that is, getting deeply embedded into how the world works.

Bloomberg Green, 05.01.2020

How is sustainability applied?

Sustainable solutions in business are driven by blunt economic choice. New questions on viability of the business model long-term and, increasingly, regulatory requirements and compliance.

Business and financial partners seek assurance that an investment, risks they have underwritten, a legal commitment is managed responsibly and will deliver even if confronting new risks. Such as fragile value chains, technological disruptions, reputational and legal concerns due to ESG amongst those.[1]  

Law and regulators propose norms and policy to mitigate effects of systemic change (e.g. climate). Most prominently financial regulators ask financial service providers such as banks and insurance to assess ESG risks of their portfolios. With the goal to channel finance towards systemic goals, away from recognized sustainability risks (e.g. Taxonomy). Considering and reporting on sustainability is a new regulatory priority for investment service providers, banks, insurance companies[1], mirrored in Latvia.[2]

European Union[3], development finance[4] and international financial institutions[5] comit their funding to responsible business plans. One that financially successful while contributing/not harming the public good. 

ESG aspects matter and materialize in markets beyond banks, as is well reflected by annual snaphot on 101 most valuable companies in Latvia as communicated by NASDAQ , the stock exchange, requiring an annual ESG report[6]to inform investors.  A large part of enterprises reflect on their ESG performance as part of annual reports, using international standards or adopting own criteria.

Developing sustainable business case

META will facilitate

  • Creating a tailored, internationally  tranferable framework for Sustainability reporting 
    1. Identifying relevant/ available data of the organization, of third parties
    1. Identifying and selection of relevant reporting standards[3]
    1. Concept and structure of the report
    1. Choice of pertinent and KPIs
    1. Advise on goals, measurements and relevant benchmarks (e.g. region, industry, firms,  policy, relative emissions)
  • Development of the sustainability report
  • Advice on strategic business choices stemming from the report

The result is a publicly available report on the company’s plan, which describes and measures the company’s progress towards sustainability. 

Economic competitiveness, market constraints creates a convincing business case for change, necessary to mitigate and adapt to adverse effects of climate and socioeconomic change.

Communication

Each client has their own sustainability threats and needs portfolio. Communicating own commitments and results is essential to assure and convince partners on reliability of client’s commitment. 

META will facilitate

  • Creation of communications plan to the value chain, financial service providers, sectoral and government bodies.
  • Events
  • Publications

[1] Data-Driven EnviroLab & New Climate Institute (2020): https://newclimate.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/NewClimate_Accelerating_Net_Zero_Sept2020.pdf

[2] IFRS reporting standards: ﷟HYPERLINK “https://www.ifrs.org/news-and-events/2021/03/trustees-announce-working-group/”https://www.ifrs.org/news-and-events/2021/03/trustees-announce-working-group/

[3] Carrots and sticks. Sustainability reporting policyGlobal trends in disclosure as the ESG agenda goes mainstream (2020)https://www.carrotsandsticks.net/media/zirbzabv/carrots-and-sticks-2020-interactive.pdf


[1] EFRAG/ EC 2021: https://www.efrag.org/Lab2

 [2]  https://www.fktk.lv/jaunumi/svarigi/ilgtspejigas-finanses-fktk-prioritate-2021-gada/

[3] https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/12/17/multiannual-financial-framework-for-2021-2027-adopted/

[4] https://www.afd.fr/en/actualites/joint-declaration-all-public-development-banks-world (20.11.2020)

[5]  EIB: https://www.eib.org/en/publications/the-eib-group-climate-bank-roadmap, EU Budget 2021-2027: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/budget-proposals-sustainability-environment-climate-change-may2018_en.pdf

[6] NASDAQ ESG Reporting Guide 2.0. https://www.nasdaq.com/docs/2019/11/26/2019-ESG-Reporting-Guide.pdf


[1] More than values: The value-based sustainability reporting that investors want (MsKinsey 2019): https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/more-than-values-the-value-based-sustainability-reporting-that-investors-want

[1]  https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2017/06/23/what-is-the-business-of-business/#:~:text=This%20post%20is%20based%20on,business%20was%20to%20maximize%20profits.&text=Levitt%20(1958)%20captured%20this%20perspective,business%20of%20business%20is%20profits.%E2%80%9

[2]Country comittments and Net 0 goals discussions in December 2020: https://eciu.net/netzerotracker Data offers summary of a time point while countries still prepare committments to COP26 conference in 2021. In Latvia the Latvian climate neutrality strategy was approved on early 2020: http://tap.mk.gov.lv/doc/2020_02/VARAMZin_051219_KlimatStrat.2437.docx

[3] IFRS. Sustainability reporting standards, upcoming: https://www.esgtoday.com/ifrs-sets-strategic-direction-for-sustainability-reporting-standards-board-with-initial-focus-on-climate/

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