Global mainstream ESG and sustainability information collection platforms are often over-engineered for African markets. These one-size-fits-all solutions can be unnecessarily expensive and may not fully address the unique needs of individual companies.
Particularly those in our illiquid African stock markets.
For smaller companies, the benefits of adopting lower-cost, bespoke ESG solutions tailored to each company’s specific requirements, as well as the importance of communicating these efforts from the bottom up, cannot be understated.
“It’s a process and not an event” is the oft-quoted cliche.
Why Customised ESG Solutions Matter
The primary advantage of choosing a customised ESG approach is its cost-effectiveness.
Lower-cost, bespoke solutions offer a more targeted approach to communicating sustainability, enabling companies to focus on the areas where they are most active and so can make the most significant impact.
Tailored solutions allow listed companies to allocate resources more efficiently and avoid the unnecessary expenses associated with over-engineered global platforms.
They are also easier to understand and get approval for, particularly when companies start their sustainability reporting.
Extracting the Essence of Your Commitment to SDGs
To begin crafting a customised ESG strategy, summarise your commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by simply listing what your company does every day:
• Donate to charity for the poor
• Track gender mix in the workforce
• Implement water storage solutions
• Invest in solar power
• Train staff and responsible hiring practices
• Capital expenditure
• Optimise transport logistics
• Quickly respond to customer queries or supplier requests
• Vehicle share scheme
• Invest in solar power
• Present earnings releases to investors
• Engage with regulators
• Engage with retail investors
• Sponsor local associations
• Support community initiatives
Categorising the SDGs around work activities does take some getting used to; for example, investor relations and corporate stock exchange reporting are categorised under SDG 16.
SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
The Best Place To Start
Your upcoming annual report is an excellent source of direction for this process.
By identifying your organisation’s key SDG priorities in your annual report text, you can then build actual data around those specific SDG goals and ensure that your ESG strategy aligns with your core values and objectives.
“Greenwashing” – behaviour or activities that make people believe that a company is doing more to protect the environment than it is.
The risks of communicating from the Top Down: Greenwashing can happen by communicating aspirational aspects of SDGs. It’s a very easy trap to fall into.
What counts is highlighting the actual, not desired, value your company adds at every level, from staff and local communities to global markets.
By emphasising the positive impact of your ESG initiatives, however small, you demonstrate how your business is making a tangible difference in the world.
In conclusion, lower-cost, bespoke ESG solutions offer a more efficient and targeted approach to sustainability. They are more flexible, more broadly driven and motivated by staff and are lower cost.
Communicating your efforts from the bottom up, you can then create an appropriate ESG strategy that evolves into something that may, in future, be transitioned to a global platform.
If you are a listed company about to release your annual report, upon release, we will analyse the content therein and give you a report on its content by SDGs. Our free offer extends to THREE listed companies. Get in touch.