Integrated Thinking: embedding sustainability into decision-making and strategy
The health and stability of our businesses and economies are dependent on the health and stability of both the natural environment and the people living within it rather than the other way around.
In order to create and maintain value into the future, organizations therefore need to integrate sustainability into their overall strategy and decision-making processes.
Why? – The business case for Integrated Thinking
Embedding sustainability into an organization’s strategy and decision-making processes helps to reduce future regulatory, resource and price risks and provides a vision of how business may be impacted by short, medium and long term environmental and social changes.
It also provides a more holistic view of the organization in terms of its operations, risks and opportunities to enable more sustainable management and value creation into the future.
Integrated Thinking is the precursor to successful Integrated Reporting.
What is A4S doing to help organizations?
A4S helps to communicate the business case for Integrated Thinking and to develop practical guidelines and tools, allowing environmental and social impacts to be measured and valued and embedded into decision making.
A4S is working towards the development of new approaches to accounting that will enable organizations in business, investment and the public sector to better understand, and where appropriate, value ‘externalities’ (i.e. environmental or social benefits or impacts for which they are not paying), and incorporate these externalities into their decision-making processes.
The Project is bringing together key public and private sector organizations to:
- Highlight the business case for Integrated Thinking through collation of case studies and encouraging recognition of leaders in this area, for example through the Finance for the Future awards in the UK.
- Identify and address the practical challenges that businesses are facing to integrate natural and social capital into decision-making and accounting systems and how these can be overcome.
- Build consensus and strengthen collaboration between initiatives working in this area to agree a common methodology, create an enabling policy environment and catalyze action.
Costing the Earth
Our short Costing the Earth film, with Stephen Fry and Al Murray, shows the importance of embedding sustainability into organizations’ DNA.
Business Leader or Eco-warrior?
The Business Leader or Eco-warrior film shows how business leaders are key to helping create a sustainable economy and how they can benefit from engaging with the sustainability agenda.
The Economic Invisibility of Nature: Information is Beautiful Images
The Information is Beautiful Studio designed the following images for A4S in order to demonstrate the economic invisibility of nature.
As part of our work to develop the business case for action and behaviour change, A4S is collating and developing case studies and ‘Killer facts’. If you have a compelling case study that you can contribute that makes the business case for ‘Integrated Thinking’, including the ‘killer facts’ that are likely to drive behaviour change, then please do get in touch here.
Finance for the Future Awards
The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project and ICAEW have launched the Finance for the Future Awards to recognize and reward financial leadership that embeds sustainability into businesses and organizations.
One of the award’s objectives is to share best practice through development of case studies and educational resources based on the experiences of the nominees and winners. These inspirational case studies demonstrate why the winners were worthy of Finance for the Future Awards.
How? – Steps to embed sustainability into your organization’s decision making and reporting
10 main steps to Integrated Thinking
A4S has identified the 10 main elements required to embed sustainability successfully in an organization.
The Natural Capital Coalition
A4S is on the Board and is a founding member of the Natural Capital Coalition. The Coalition is driving the development of accounting for natural capital by bringing together organizations working on natural capital accounting to develop methodologies.
Support the development of common approaches to valuing natural capital by joining the Natural Capital Coalition.
Chief Financial Officer Leadership Seminar
A4S has developed a new, innovative leadership seminar for Chief Financial Officers, jointly with the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL). Click here to find out more about applying to attend the CFO Leadership Seminar.
Decision making tool
The illustrative decision-making model has been developed to show how sustainability issues can be taken into account more effectively in day-to-day decision-making processes.
Accounting for Sustainability: Practical Insights Book
The Practical Insights book presents examples of how organizations have used accounting for sustainability tools and principles to embed sustainability into their DNA.
Work towards Integrated Reporting and follow the IIRC guidance.
Click here to find out other ways to get involved with A4S’ work.