Seven ways to be a positive force

How The Corporate Sector Can Drive Positive Change

Undoubtedly, companies need profit to thrive. But as stakeholders grow increasingly concerned about sustainability and other social causes, businesses looking to succeed must embrace the same mission. To help the corporate sector drive positive change, Nina Ekelund, Executive Director at the Haga Initiative, shares her advice with The Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce New York.

  1. Realize that sustainability is profitable
    At the Haga Initiative, our experience informs us that sustainability efforts lead to increased profitability. When we asked 300 Swedish companies about climate action’s effect on profitability, 85 percent stated it can increase brand value and customer loyalty. Once your CFO realizes this, it will be easier to shift your business in a more sustainable direction.
  2. Lead by example
    Real change is possible when your management team is fully dedicated and transparent. As a CEO, you cannot expect all your employees to switch to electric company cars if you drive a Hummer yourself.
  3. Know where you stand
    To effect real change, you must start with a clear sustainability report to set targets for the future. For instance, members of the Haga Initiative report their climate impact and account for their essential emissions in an annual collective climate disclosure.
  4. Communicate progress
    To encourage more progress, use the 1:3 positivity ratio from psychology, and highlight three productive opportunities—constructive action, health benefits or safety considerations—per climate threat.
  5. Utilize networks
    We are stronger together. Use your existing network or form new alliances with competitors. More synergies come about when companies from different sectors collaborate. When 15 CEOs deliver one message, more people will listen.
  6. Influence Politicians
    Monitor business policies and use your voice to help politicians make better regulations. It is imperative to connect with politicians and legislators regularly, making sure that long-term legislation, state-funded research, and investments are aligned with national climate goals.
  7. Form partnerships without borders
    Climate change knows no borders. So to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development as clearly stated in the SDG #17, we need to work alongside different nations and across continents, and share knowledge between business, science, politics and non-profit sectors.