It’s all around us
We see it all around us now. Whether it is in the new book of Dutch author, Jeroen Smit, about the struggle of former Unilever CEO Paul Polman to get his company and its products more aligned with the current wishes of society. Or the Dutch institutional investors issuing a first of a green paper on their views of companies reporting on non-financial, sustainability issues.
More and more, ‘society’ expects organizations to act in accordance with the current rules of ethical, environmental and social behaviour. It is hard to predict what directions these demands of society will go into, but one thing we do know: they will evolve over time.
Setting goals on these themes is quite difficult: ‘society’ has a broad definition, so it is hard to define whose expectations you want to meet, the next generation workforce won’t join your organization if they can’t make an impact and climate experts are expecting you to come up with more actions than your shareholders will probably like. How can these expectations be aligned with the obligations to perform better on a financial basis quarter after quarter? Sometimes these requirements seem to contradict.
What is going on?
Many different factors are coming together as the challenges our society is facing. Industries are looking for ways to keep health services available and affordable in an aging western society and to provide health services for all global citizens. Cities are experimenting with solutions to keep their citizens feel happier and safer, whilst becoming increasingly densely populated. Industries must find smart solutions to migrate to renewable energy sources while the fossil ones are depleting and far too polluting. Energy consumption needs to become sustainable. Mobility behaviour is changing. The disrupting powers of technology will make an impact on many aspects of our lives. Technology will contribute tremendously to the challenges society face. But as such, that will not be enough to make the world a better place to live.
Every organization, in some way or another, has an impact on society. And every organization is expected to make sure it’s contributions to society are positive, while being honest and transparent about the impact they have on people and the environment. In order to stay relevant and meaningful, organizations need to be aware of who exactly their stakeholders are and what it is all their stakeholders expect from them. Additionally, organizations need to understand what their core contribution is to society and define it in an honest and transparent way. Lastly, organizations need to be willing and able to adapt to these expectations.
What can be done?
Organizations need to become intrinsically linked to society.
Intrinsically linked to society means that organizations will benefit when their activities are aligned with the needs of all their stakeholders. Therefore, they need to formulate a clear organizational purpose. Their real reason of existence that can be used as the essential fundament on which to define their added value to society, through the eyes of their stakeholders
Because becoming intrinsically linked to society means that organizations have to really understand its stakeholders. What are their interests, what is on their minds? Help your stakeholders get to know your organization and learn to speak their language by staying in a constant dialogue with them.
Basically, just like people do when they have meaningful connections with family and friends. It is exactly the same with organizations. Organizations and their people will flourish and benefit from meaningful connections with their stakeholders. It will accelerate their progress.
How can Kremer & Company contribute?
Kremer & Company guides organizations in becoming intrinsically linked to society.
We support organizations in identifying their stakeholders, stating their organizational purpose and in developing their key themes that reflect the expectations of their stakeholders on three levels: the added value, the key assets and the responsibility of the organization.
We inspire and stimulate organizations to create a constant dialogue with their stakeholders based on the purpose of the organization. To create a sustainable transformation, we equip organizations with easy methods and ways of working to anchor outside-in expectations into their daily business. We have formulated standard models and processes for our clients to use. Lastly, we help organizations to communicate about it.