Sustainable development is one of the cornerstones of our service offering. From extensive research by various experts in a number of management and scientific areas, it is clear that the business world as we know it is changing. Our challenges are evolving and the tools we need to address such challenges have to take multi-faceted issues into account.

What is sustainable development?

The meaning of sustainable development is that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. From this definition, it is clear that it focuses on the rational management of human, natural and economic resources. The aim is to satisfy the essential needs of humanity in the long term. Sustainable development stresses the importance of institutions that are willing to integrate economic, social and environmental objectives at each level of policy development and decision-making.

Business management is complex, whether in developed or developing contexts. Every business and project – whether in manufacturing, mining, retail or financial services – requires the same basic input resources. These include water and energy. The output tends to be factors like carbon emissions and waste.

To become more sustainable, companies need to understand that their entire value chain requires consideration. The importance of new accounting models to consider impact and risk across the value chain – financial analysis in particular – cannot be overstated. Shareholders need to consider how a company will use innovation and collaboration to compete in a resource-constrained world.

Sustainability management and sustainable business models offer companies opportunities to reconsider the way they create value, and how growth, efficiencies and profitability can be enhanced in future.

Our approach to sustainability strategy development

We understand that businesses need to confidently manage risk and impact, as well as innovate and differentiate. We recognise that each client is different, so our approach is to first get a rigorous understanding of specific business contexts.

Next Generation has worked extensively on the African continent, both in developed and developing regions. Our comprehensive knowledge across industry sectors has given us a deep understanding of the complexity of integrated business models.

We apply our knowledge to the specific operating environment of our clients to assist them to manage risk and impact. Our specialist knowledge and research capabilities ensure that our clients can continue to create value for their stakeholders and in the process become more resilient, profitable and sustainable.

Sustainability as a competitive advantage

For our clients, the ability to remain competitive and differentiate in a complex environment remains critical. We understand that being compliant is only the first step. We do not treat sustainability as merely a governance issue or a box to be ticked. We focus on company-specific, industry-specific and country-specific solutions that enhance business models to ensure that sustainability becomes a competitive advantage for our clients.

We put together a team of specialist consultants for each phase of the journey towards greater sustainability. This ensures integrated thinking and aligns sustainability with all business aspects and functions.

From our extensive experience, it is clear that becoming more sustainable requires specific and detailed processes. It starts with understanding the business model, the value chain, the stakeholders and the economic, social sustainability and environmental value created through business processes. Together with internal stakeholders, we develop extensive sustainability strategies that incorporate opportunities, risks and impacts.

This roadmap provides our clients with clear priorities and direction, so that internal and external stakeholders have confidence in the organisation’s ability to continue to grow and be profitable and sustainable.

We’ve developed a process that can get clients there quickly

Together with a client’s internal stakeholders, we create a sustainability plan based on their SGDs (sustainable development goals), risks and opportunities, external and internal pressures, as well as resources. This roadmap provides clear priorities and directions. Clients can then move forward with confidence, knowing that sustainability is not just the right thing to do, but also a great business decision.

For us, it’s not just about a sustainability or integrated report. We understand that to reach this outcome, our clients may require different support services.

We take a holistic approach to sustainability strategy development, assisting clients with:

  • Enterprise-wide sustainability strategy development and/or specific operational or divisional sustainability strategy development.
  • Research, benchmarking and review of sustainability initiatives, programmes and reports – we are known for our extensive knowledge of industry sectors, reporting standards and sustainability practices. This will ensure that your strategies, policies, standards and reports can be benchmarked globally.

Contact us for more information and examples of successful campaigns. In the meantime, here are some sustainable development articles and resources. Our services are available to companies in South Africa, throughout Africa and around the globe.