Why start with sustainability? It can effectively change your business

2. 11. 2021

At the beginning of September, the sixth Invest MORE conference, traditionally organized by the Moravian Silesian Investment and Development (MSID), took place in Ostrava. You can find out how the conference looked like and what the participants could experience here. But now let's take a deeper look at the topics discussed at our conference.

Petr Beneš from 6D Academy put the topic of sustainable growth in a broader context. His presentation focused on global growth trends in the context of the digital revolution and new business models that the digital age brings.

According to Beneš, technologies are evolving exponentially while humans are evolving linearly. This, given the current pace of development, means that over the next 20 years humankind will change more than in the last 300 years. However, so far many inventions have been halted by climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. The answer to these problems may to some extent be the implementing of elements of the circular economy. This is certainly also related to the pressure for ethical business based on values ​​as well as the personal integrity of the leader.

So, what are the trends in sustainable development according to Beneš? These factors include: the reduction of the price of renewable energy sources, the persistence of hybrid ways of working, the compensation of carbon emissions, the pressure on companies to publish information regarding climate change risks, as well as the increasing pressure to reduce, reuse, refurbish, repair and recycle.

Among the business models that are determined by the use of new technologies, he included the following: individualization, self-service, getting rid of intermediate steps (e.g. selling from manufacturers directly to consumers), glocalization (operate globally in a local way), shared economy, open API economy, platformization (uberization) and commoditization.

Libor Musil, the founder of LIKO-S, then shared his experience from his family business where he focused mainly on the issue of so-called living buildings. According to Musil, living buildings improve the environment as they work as water retention, reduce temperature and dust, and ensure sufficient moisture and oxygen, thus improving the quality of life. They offer one way of adapting faster to climate change – as a matter of fact, the current pace of adapting is much slower than that of climate change.

Musil based his claims on a few practical examples. For example, 10 sq m of green facades per year can create 7 thousand litres of oxygen, evaporate 4 thousand litres of water, provide cooling to the environment worth of almost 14 thousand crowns, absorb noise, create organic substances and have stimulating and antidepressant effects.

The green roof in the range of 10 sq m can create 1,400 litres of oxygen and evaporate 2 thousand litres of water per year; capture dust, create biodiversity and, last but not least, protect the roofing foil from aging and damage.

Dan Heuer, from Fair Venture, then introduced 3 ways companies can approach sustainability. In short, these ways can be summarized as “CSR, SDGs and ESG”. The last acronym ESG is a new trend in recent months. The ESG identifies three areas (environmental, social and corporate governance) that investors and banks monitor when assessing funding. Green projects can thus obtain more favourable conditions. ESG is spoken of as the biggest revolution in corporate sustainability. Thanks to more advantageous green financing, sustainability has become attractive for almost all companies on the market.

During the panel discussion, Heuer shared his experience with implementing sustainability in companies. A systematic approach is important. This means that the company sets realistic but ambitious goals and then achieves them. Community activities are also important. Such activities, if they are well prepared and reflect the society’s demand, are also beneficial for the company.

Tomáš Hrbáček, the representative of Cyrkl, then outlined and demonstrated how, thanks to well-established waste management in the company and the introduction of elements of the circular economy, savings of up to 45% and reduction of CO2 by up to 700 tons can be achieved. The first step to this streamlining is to perform a so-called circular waste scan.

If you want to learn more about the circular waste scan, how to establish it and what else it includes, these and other questions will be answered by Vojtěch Pilnáček from Cyrkl at our following seminar in November. The seminar is once again organized by MSID and open for companies from the region. You can find more about the webinar here.