On the 14th of May 2021, Relocation Africa’s CEO Rene Stegmann joined the European Relocation Association (EuRA) Spring Summit Day 5 as a panellist. The moderator, Ben Ivory, Senior Vice President, Global Initiatives was joined by panellists, Lloyd Townsend, Supply Chain Manager, EDF (Corporate), Rico Lopes – Graebel (Supply Chain Management) and Beverly King – Graebel (Business Development).
The topic of Day 5 of this summit continuing the conversation of sustainability and provide perspectives from a leading UK energy sector client professional, a progressive DSP provider and a global relocation management company. The presentation was set to present a level of understanding of sustainability/ Environmental, Social, and (Corporate) Governance, (ESG)/ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and establish a foundation for what is a multi-year or even multi-generational effort.
First on the agenda for discussion was the topic on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries. The vision for 2030 is setting a vision for a world free of poverty, hunger, disease. A world that elevates human social justice and human rights, and an accessible world to all regardless of background, race, gender and sexual orientation. Stegmann aptly states that we can no longer greenwash and pay lip service, that to achieve these 17 SGDs, we need to act and walk in the terms of sustainability in both our personal lives and business environment. She further to explains how Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is an appropriate model to include in the SDG goal, especially the SDG Gender Equality, or SDG 10 reduced inequality. The insertion of DEI will help stakeholders and humanity at all levels reach an understanding of the importance of these 17 goals. The world needs to understand these goals from the DEI root level, understanding its intricacies and complexities, and its intersections. When we understand from this point, we are able to operate from a place of consideration of differences.
Lloyd Townsend shared his sustainability EDF commitment, Helping Britain Achieve net-zero initiative which is made up of five pillars: net-zero environmental impact, increasing energy efficiency, the elimination of single-use enhanced social value and also innovation. Townsend states that taking a leading role in Britain’s race to net-zero will hopefully translate into other businesses and companies being equally honest with themselves to ensure they are contributing appropriately based on their business activities.
Townsend says, “I think businesses need to play a key part in this race as well. They need to create a diverse and inclusive environment which allows their employees to feel safe and to flourish being exactly who it is that they”.
Beverly King makes a remarkable point, stating that “Understanding the background of the organization their corporate strategy of sustainability and if DE&I really seem to be at the forefront. Then you can probably understand that there will be some of those initiatives that will help in the background drive, you know the pro the procurement process, the RFP process and be a factor that is included.” Soon, employees will measure a companies progressiveness based on their DEI and CSR initiative. Why? In recent times, companies are being held accountable and called into question about their contribution to eradicating social and environmental problems. It is almost necessary for companies to make a declaration or have policies in place as means of remaining accountable to the people and the planet.
Stegmann continues the sustainability conversation voicing that businesses need to self-examine the environment in which they operate and how business impact sustainability, and the balance of the triple bottom line approach of people and profit. She goes to speak on the #Payin30 initiative as a Small Medium Enterprise (SME) business. #Payin30 is an initiative aimed at helping SME suppliers become sustainable in the future. Stegmann has managed to reach an agreement with over 50 Relocation Africa clients, to pay Relocation Africa within 30 days. Stegmann has been a pivotal leader in driving the campaign across the corporate and SME sector, highlighting the importance of #Payin30 as an integral part of Corporate Sustainability (CS).
An important highlight that Stegmann makes, “We believe in working in partnership vertically horizontally with our competitors because we’re all working to the same goal.” Indeed, a collaborative approach towards a world we all share is needed. Using all our expertise and resources to combat a problem we all face saves time and the planet. She further highlights the need to make information on the broad topic of sustainability available such as making a library of articles available for your own network. King further augments this point by asserting the need for sustainability to become a way of life, a part of our everyday life. She aptly highlights the need to understand that we cannot operate outside the triple bottom line. “We have the responsibility of looking after the planet for the next generation”, Townsend adds.
One day a man was walking along the beach, when he noticed a boy hurriedly picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “Young man, what are you doing?”
The boy replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up, and the tide is going out. If I do not throw them back, they’ll die.” The man laughed to himself and said, “Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make any difference!”
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said,
“I made a difference to that one.” –
As the session ends, Ben Ivory makes an important point. He says, to tackle the topic of sustainability, the first step is making it a topic on your agenda. The following step is to be critical of yourself, making the journey to being sustainable a measurable one by placing real objectives in place. Let us all remember the story of the starfish. In our capacity, we have the power to make a difference.