There are several broad themes that will receive attention in 2022. They include sustainability, health and wellness, social justice, and mobility (including electric and autonomous vehicles). At the heart of each of these themes is sustainable development, with dialog emerging in three broad buckets:
When viewed through a business lens, each bucket drives focus on sustainable development. The big question for the year is: how do you measure it? It’s one thing to say that sustainability, social good, and inclusion are on equal footing with profitability and growth – it’s another to realize it. A recent book via Alec Ross provides some ideas regarding measurement. Measurement aside, there are plenty of signs that focus will be there. In a recent article on ESG, author Stephanie Mehta Fast Company Impact Council provides insight from members of the council.
From transparency tools to innovation that allows us to tackle the biggest challenges that humanity faces, these council members see 2022 as a pivotal year. In a different article, the author points to a growing awareness of ESG trends and the rise of the concept of stakeholder value. Here the focus is on long-term value creation for customers, employees, society and the environment rather than just short-term value for shareholders. The author indicates that the pandemic has sharpened this focus by highlighting the importance of metrics such as employee health and well-being, safety protocols, cybersecurity and business continuity, to name a few.
Lastly, we will read more about purpose. In this article, the author states that given the rising public scrutiny around climate, Covid, and socioeconomic justice, companies are becoming increasingly purposeful to address the world’s problems. The article explores the questions that help a company define its purpose. Those questions come from a book titled Lead With We: The Business Revolution That Will Save Our Future.
Whether it’s purpose, stakeholder capitalism, or ESG, the end game is the same: advancing our human development!