The pundits have been out in force giving their customary wraps of the “year that was” and prophecies for the “year that will be”. One of the common themes in focus is the heightened awareness of our shared environment and our impact on the “E” across the ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) landscape.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a wake-up call for many and increased the attention paid to climate change, the air we breathe, and our overall health as individuals, society and planetary citizens. As such, trending terminology and themes being explored include sustainability, impact, stakeholder capitalism, conscious consumerism.
Over the last year, I have been mapping and scoping out the purpose-driven business ecosystem here in Israel with the aim of understanding the landscape’s challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, we have a very mature and substantial network of non-profit organisations and private foundation funders who have been engaged in predominantly social, and to a lesser extent environmental, initiatives and causes for decades. Whereas, on the other hand, the integration of newer paradigms such as impact and mission-driven, shared value-based, business strategies and thought leadership is significantly lagging behind generally accepted global benchmarks.
The cynics amongst us may venture to say that the ‘Chutzpah’ element of Israel’s business community has taken some quick strides forward to “reinvent the wheel” without adequately considering international best practices. Some have leveraged off the prevalent notions of sustainability and impact to ‘greenwash’ outward-facing marketing and branding campaigns without integrating any real substantive stakeholder engagement or impact measurement and management implementation. I however am of the opinion that the Israeli regenerative business market is still very much in its fledgling days. There is simply a lack of awareness and understanding of what these purpose-driven models and strategies are and their far-reaching outcomes on economic viability, social and civic vitality and environmental regeneration.
The upside is that there is a wealth of information, resources, benchmarks and protocols readily available and already tried and tested across different markets. Now is the time to use our tremendous ingenuity and agility to process this information while ingraining its parameters in alignment with our unique business culture. We have a tremendous opportunity to propel the integration of impact measurement and management into our business operations with the intended outcome of driving sustainable financial profits that create equitable positive benefits for people, the country and the planet.