One month into the new financial year, Edge CEO Jonas Bengtsson reflects on what turned out to be an extraordinary FY2019-20, and the unprecedented opportunity we all have ahead of us…
While no business likes to see dark clouds on the horizon, one small silver lining of Coronavirus is that it seemed to provide a chance to slow down. Here at Edge, 2019 had been a very busy year with sustainability gathering a real sense of natural momentum. That then ticked over into the devastating bushfires and floods, which focussed the public spotlight firmly onto climate change, and created a further wave of interest. Against that background, the prospect of a bit of a breather wasn’t an entirely unwelcome proposition – but (so far) it’s actually the reverse that has happened. The energy behind our work has not only continued at pace over recent months, it has surpassed all expectations. And whilst the immediate future remains difficult to predict, at Edge we’re feeling increasingly confident that sentiment, intention and decisive action towards creating a sustainable future is very much here to stay.
SUSTAINABILITY NO LONGER OPTIONAL
Thinking back, it wasn’t so long ago that sustainable practices in Australia were confined to a relatively small number of companies that were doing something exceptional (many of whom, thankfully, were our early clients!). Fast forward to today, and their leadership has expanded out across a wide breadth of industries and organisations, both large and small. From consumer goods, technology and retail through to aged care and agriculture, the notion of any business disregarding environmental risks is almost unthinkable. Demonstrable good practice is now considered strategically critical to success, a key driver of innovation, progress and change. There is clear recognition that sustainability is no longer a choice. Investors expect it, and consumers demand it.
This has certainly been evident in recent months. When Coronavirus hit our shores we suspected – though hoped otherwise – that sustainability might slide off the agenda as it had during the GFC; considered a luxury item as businesses struggled to stay afloat and society was challenged in every direction. But this time, so far at least, it seems like there’s a very different narrative. Covid-19 has given many of us time to reflect, and an opportunity to consider how the opportunity to make change and create something better is entirely within our grasp. It’s helped businesses understand how vulnerable their supply chains are, and reminded us all how powerful nature can be if we don’t treat it with care. We’ve had a glimpse of new ways of working, clear waterways and pollution free skies: we’ve literally seen the top of the mountain!
POSITIONING FOR NATIONAL GROWTH
Here at Edge, we’re feeling energised and motivated. Instead of scaling back, we’re scaling up. We’re doubling down on our mission and accelerating our role in what has to be an unprecedented decade of action. Our restructure is complete, with national leads now in place across our full spectrum of services, including built environment advisory, climate change, strategy, leadership and communications, sustainable procurement and circular economy. To add to our recent expansion into Adelaide, we’re just months away from our new Melbourne opening (watch this space). And we have big plans to add an array of specialists to our already growing team, starting with a few additions to our circular economy team and a soon-to-be announced Head of Built Environment Solutions (more on that coming soon). As we entered the new financial year, we’re excited for the opportunities ahead, and more determined than ever to create industry leaders and leadership, and to drive change underpinned by Science, Strategy and Storytelling.
GOING FORWARD BETTER
So, despite all the obvious challenges, we think there is real cause for optimism within our industry. And good news for sustainability means good news for everybody. Whether you’re a consumer, a supplier, a business owner or in government, as a community we continue to propel the sustainability movement forwards, drive the agenda for positive change and collectively reap the longer-term benefits that await.
We’re all in. Are you ready to join us?