As part of our three questions in three minutes series we get insight from a leading practitioner on what was the top focus for 2016, biggest sustainability trend for 2017 and where’s sustainability heading in 5 years’ time

What was your top focus for 2016?
Last year, our top priority was focused on developing implementation plans to achieve the GOJO 2020 Sustainable Value Strategies and Goals, which we announced in December 2015. Our 2020 Sustainable Value Strategies and Goals are centered on creating social, environmental and economic value and are a reflection of our understanding of what is needed and expected by our customers and other stakeholders.

We also raised the bar in our fifth year of sustainability reporting by publishing a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Core level report. The 2015/2016 GOJO Sustainability Report shares with all GOJO stakeholders – customers, team members and partners – our sustainability story and the progress we have made. It focuses on the areas that matter most to our stakeholders – creating Sustainable Value through collaboration, product innovation, our commitment to sustainable chemistry and more.
We chose to produce a GRI report because we wanted to utilize a framework that would help us to consistently communicate the significance of each material topic, our management approach and the metrics we are using to measure our progress in reaching our 2020 Sustainable Value Strategies and Goals.

What is the biggest trend you see for sustainability for 2017?
While the environment has been a primary focus of corporate sustainability for more than a decade, I see social sustainability and human health and well-being becoming a greater focus. This is being driven by multiple factors including an increased awareness of the connection between the products we use each and every day and human health, as well as the growing expectation from stakeholders for complete transparency from the organizations with which they work.

Nicole Koharik

This trend is being addressed across stakeholder groups. A few examples include: emerging customer preferences for products with ingredients that are better for them; retailers adopting sustainable chemistry policies; and industry collaborations such as the Chemical Footprint Project, which unites stakeholders with the shared goal of a common metric for corporate chemicals management.

Where will you see sustainability heading in 5 years’ time?
While many businesses have not yet embraced sustainability within their strategies, I see this changing with sustainable business strategies becoming the norm. I also see today’s leading companies evolving their strategies beyond today’s focus on reducing impacts and preventing harm, to driving new sources of value and positive impact.
The future holds exciting possibilities for businesses to adopt a restorative mind-set with strategies to put back more natural resources than they deplete. Early adopters will lead the way with new ways to build positive social impacts through innovation, partnerships, increased stakeholder inclusivity and public advocacy for positive change.

Nicole Koharik will be speaking at our upcoming Responsible Business Summit New York. Taking place on March 27-28, the event will host 250+ leading US brands sharing how to create a business of purpose and profit. Other brands leading the debate include; Dell, Ford Motors Foundation, Interface, PepsiCo, Infosys, Ecolab, VF Corporation, Zendesk, HSBC Bank USA plus many more. Click here for more information

Read our other three questions in three minutes series here:

3 in 3: Atlanta Mcllwraith, senior manager of community engagement, Timberland

3 in 3: Franz Paasche, SVP of corporate affairs and communications, PayPal

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