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Greener value propositions: how ESG is supercharging B2B

By Octopus Group on 25th October 2021

There’s a lot to squeeze into the imminent 26th UN Climate Change Conference (aka COP26). The latest examples of extreme weather and stressed ecosystems add to the sense of urgency. But this is now matched by political and economic complexity, as energy security and supply chain resilience are pushed to the front of the agenda.

We’re a world in transition, where everything is connected. And the impact on business and technology is front and centre.

ESG (and other acronyms)

Terms like ESG (Environmental & Social Governance) and CSR (Corporate & Social Responsibility) used to serve as garnish to the main course in corporate dialogue. Now, we talk about them as fundamental – a ‘license to operate’ in all sorts of sectors. These terms are a significant risk factor on the balance sheet as a CFO plans for the coming years. And shareholders are holding some of the world’s biggest companies to account for their environmental credentials.

Greenwash won’t wash anymore. This is auditable stuff (markets regulators like the US Securities and Exchange Commission are getting involved now), which means businesses have to measure, understand and communicate change convincingly.

And it’s not all negative from the business perspective either. For many organisations there’s a massive opportunity to grow in a rebalancing global economy, if they get it right.

The ESG opportunity

This is why we’ve called out ESG as one of the drivers supercharging B2B right now.

Some of our clients are very obviously at the heart of the challenge – working in areas like EV charging, carbon accounting and management, or supporting the broader transformation of the energy industry.

But this is now a significant part of the value proposition for almost all our clients.

For example, the big engineering firms are helping diverse clients plan and operate differently to hit their targets.

And above all, the tech sector is running at breakneck speed, given that almost everything above tracks back to digital transformation (see this comprehensive summary from S&P). The greener world is often data-driven, as organisations explore smarter ways to manage work, manage resources and enable operating efficiencies.

The main event

The takeaway from 2021 in B2B is that every sales and marketing team need to have a clear idea of what their ESG strategy is and how that tracks back to the way they sell and deliver value to their customers.

It’s not garnish anymore – it’s a fundamental part of the value proposition. In other words: ESG is the main event.

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