It’s no secret that Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations are now an integral part of a company’s valuation. In fact, a good name and financial success are reciprocal elements in the business valuation world. In an economy where 70 to 80 percent of market value comes from hard-to-assess, intangible assets such as brand equity, intellectual capital, and goodwill, organizations are especially vulnerable to anything that damages their brand name.
Very simply, in business your reputation means everything.
Now, companies are discovering ways to translate ideals around ESG initiatives into sound business and procurement strategies with quantifiable, actionable data derived from spend analytics. Simfoni is one such company that provides spend analytics capabilities that extract meaningful data from the business procurement function, ensuring that strategic ESG initiatives can be properly set and adhered to.
At a recent “Women in Procurement” breakfast, Aisiri Mohan, Impact Assessment Analyst, and Sarah Lighton, Director of Operations, demonstrated the Simfoni spend analytics solution through the lens of corporate sustainability and social responsibility. Hosted by State of Flux, a leading UK-based leading consultancy that provides contract lifecycle and category management, strategic sourcing and SRM (Supplier Relationship Management), the event was attended by an invited group of Procurement leaders from the Financial Services sector seeking to learn about disruptive, recent technologies that can help increase valuation while reducing risk to brand image.
Mohan outlined Simfoni’s impact assessment, which is part of a broader “model of sustainability,” helping companies firmly grasp how their procurement decisions affect ESG issues, allowing them to proactively manage reputational risks. “Planet and people matter, and as consumers become hyper-aware of the impact their purchase activities can make, it becomes increasingly important for businesses to closely consider how their operational decisions impact ESG”, she said. Mohan explained how Oatly, the popular Swedish vegan food company, found itself in hot water last year after it was uncovered that one of their main investors was a private equity company connected to funding Amazon deforestation. A large part of their customer base initiated a boycott, and the company’s profits plummeted—clearly demonstrating how much reputational damage can pose risks to economic gains.
Simfoni’s approach to ESG ratings focuses on a quantitative, data-driven reporting model. Monetary values are tracked year over year and the impact of those values are closely monitored. For example, if your company spent 100 Euros on diesel, and it produced 100 Kg CO2-eq (carbon dioxide emissions), what does that output mean to the planet or atmosphere? And how many Euros are required to reverse the damage caused by those emissions? Simfoni uses the same impact assessment model for Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) investment. For example, are your vendors enacting policies to ensure the rights of their outsourced workers? Do they have the right certifications in place for employee and environmental safety? Simfoni’s impact assessment model measures such initiatives and provides actionable data on an all-in-one dashboard, making sure clients have the entire assessment on a single, easy-to-use platform.
Each aspect of Simfoni’s impact assessment model resonated with different members of the audience, indicating not only how prevalent this subject is, but also how nuanced, highlighting the importance of implementing composable solutions that address specific areas of need—with industry experts standing behind that solution and providing guidance every step of the way.
While reputation management and risk assessment are nothing new, (businesses have been paying lip service to it for some time), many executives now realize that looking at the world and one’s organization through rose-tinted glasses is an abdication of responsibility. With the ability to truly quantify the impact and connect to more tangible actions through technology, assessing and acting on the impact of your business on ESG and CSR is no longer seen as a ‘nice to have’ but a business imperative.