This week Isuzu East Africa celebrated the sale of their 100,000th vehicle in Kenya since 1977. This is clearly not a small fete and more so as the company continues to grow. The achievement has been driven by the company’s need to have a corporate immune system that has enabled it to scale and reach the present level in its operations.
A key pillar towards the building of corporate immunity is the embracing of sustainability within the business. Sustainability is a company’s capacity to prosper in a competitive and changing global business environment by anticipating and managing current and future economic, environmental and social opportunities and risks. Firms that address these factors through innovation, quality and productivity enhance their ability to generate long-term stakeholder value.
Isuzu has recognised the need of becoming a sustainable company and has walked the talk when it comes to the safeguarding of future generations. One key area of focus when it comes to matters sustainability is the reduction of environmental footprint of the business.
As a leader in the automotive industry, the business has embraced the sustainable development goals (SDGs) as well as the provisions of the Kenyan climate change Act, Paris climate agreement among other global requirements.
In 2016, the Climate Change Act came to effect in Kenya with the need to help the country head towards its international commitments in making a better world for future generations. The goal of the Act is to provide a regulatory framework for an enhanced response to climate change and to provide mechanisms and measures of improving resilience to climate change and promoting low carbon development.
The Act is the precursor for environmental sustainability in Kenya and businesses ought to evaluate the consequences of the Act to their ventures. Industries need to be more sensitive to environmental matters and customers must hold them accountable for their environmental, societal and, if possible, financial consequences of their actions and inactions.
Environmental sustainability generally addresses how the needs of the present can be met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs with protection of natural resources and the environment. The key components that companies should be focusing on in matters climate change are emissions, renewable energy and energy efficiency, resourceful use of materials, water management, pollution and waste management.
There are numerous benefits that companies will accrue if they take care of environmental issues. Isuzu East Africa is an example where such benefits included building a better brand, more sales and revenues, costs reduction especially where the company has used materials efficiently including energy efficiency and use of renewable sources.
Embracing environmental sustainability will also go a long way in terms of managing the company’s risks as well as ensuring that it will have a social license to operate by having good working relationships with its stakeholders.
What does it take for a company to head towards an environmentally friendly future? This will call for starting with a shared vision and communicating that vision within the organisation and its stakeholders. The vision must be shared by the top management and their level of commitment to the environmental sustainability journey must be identified.
Isuzu vision has influenced the business culture, stakeholders’ interest, brand, personal values of employee towards sustainability. Commitment to communication and implementation of the vision is key to enabling the company to get closer to becoming environmentally sustainable.
Management teams will have to choose material matters that they will focus on when it comes to the environmental sustainability. Determining what is important will help in directing implementation of the strategy.
Once the material matters are highlighted the next step will be coming up with the strategy to address the issues as well as definition of the key performance indicators (KPIs) which the company will keep an eye.
The results achieved from the implementation need to be reported and this can be done using renowned reporting standards such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) which will provide the guidelines for reporting. Where companies lack internal capacity to do these, they may consider sustainability experts who will conduct needs assessment and assist to develop frameworks for addressing these needs.