Reflections on 2023 by our CEO, Nicola Stopps

As we approach the close of 2023, I take a moment to reflect on the strides businesses have made in advancing their sustainability agendas. In my interactions with our esteemed clients, a distinct trend emerges: we are transitioning from a era of mere aspirations to one of purposeful action with unwavering integrity. A sentiment echoed by a CFO last week: sustainability must course through the veins of the company. To me, this translates to ensuring every employee not only thinks but acts sustainably.

It’s not just about engaging and educating employees; it’s about cultivating a culture that empowers and enables team members to ask the right questions and make sustainable choices. This year, I’ve delved deeply into the concept of culture, especially concerning Simply Sustainable’s growth and how we maintain a positive, joyful, and humble ethos. Moreover, I pondered on how businesses can foster cultures that enhance sustainability.

In my contemplations, I revisited “Keywords” by Raymond Williams, a Welsh cultural thinker, who initially defined culture as “the tending of natural growth.” This resonated with me, aligning with my observations that successful businesses integrate sustainability not only through advocacy from the top but also by embedding it into processes and operations, allowing employees to design and drive initiatives. This thrives when there is active nurturing at all levels—encouragement from leadership, training for all team members, resources, and KPIs aligned with both commercial and sustainability targets.

Building a positive, sustainability-centric culture is not an inherent trait; it demands consistent and active cultivation.

In 2023, I found satisfaction in the heightened emphasis on the robustness of sustainability approaches, now a focal point for most businesses. At Simply Sustainable, our approach has always been robust. It’s heartening to witness views endorsed by the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) in Europe and The Transition Pathways’ guidance launch in the UK. While some may view these as bureaucratic, they contribute positively to ensuring all companies have detailed sustainability and decarbonisation action plans.

Now, as business leaders, the question we face is: How can we accelerate sustainability actions while maintaining commercial success? Striking this delicate balance is crucial, but if we’re to meet the 1.5°C target, decisions must be deliberate, well-researched, and infused with substantial sustainability and ESG knowledge. In large companies, almost no decision can be made without this consideration, and we must be wary of groupthink.

Author: Nicola Stopps, CEO and Founder, Simply Sustainable

Request a call back

Talk to one of our friendly experts at a time that’s convenient for you.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.