Directions - How to turn your promises in to progress

Our Thinking Covers3

29th April 2022

It’s time to act, with urgency and ambition

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) all set the business timeline to 2030. It’s a short amount of time to create the conditions for success. Our ‘decade of action’ will soon be up and, collectively, we risk having very little progress to show for it. In fact critical metrics like GHG emissions, plastic production and biodiversity loss are going up, not down. The job is getting harder as each month ticks by.

Businesses play a vital role in our efforts to transition to a sustainable future and so CEOs need to act now, with urgency and ambition. The financial and reputational rewards from getting it right are huge and those that ignore the environmental imperative risk seeing regulatory fines, damage to their brand and corporate reputation, investors divesting their stock, consumer backlash and difficulty in attracting and retaining the best talent.

So why the lack of progress? The issue facing business is that intent and reality aren’t really matching up. Lack of progress isn’t due to a lack of desire, effort or investment but a complex mix of challenges and barriers. The enormity of the task at hand (a complete restructuring of business operations, infrastructure, processes and mindsets) is often at odds with the limited human and financial resources available. This makes it even more difficult for sustainability teams to understand and identify the priority levers for action in a world of competing pressures all set against a growing need for impact measurement and ROI.

But what if a business tool existed that measured this impact (in terms of reputational risk or opportunity lost) and then identified which actions need to come together to drive genuine progress? There are multiple tools that exist today to measure single issue/single metric progress but businesses are lacking a broader management tool to understand where to focus their sustainability efforts and investment in order to track and enhance progress and return on investment.

There is a need for more urgency but also for new, practical tools that help turn ambition into action. Sustainability professionals need help obtaining a sharper focus on the most effective actions required to deliver progress for business, the planet and society and ways to track and monitor progress and business impact. It’s this belief, compounded by the stark reality of where we are, that has inspired us to develop ProgressPoint.

You can find out more about ProgressPoint in our Directions Report, ‘Turning Promises into Progress’, which explores the tool and findings from our ProgressPoint analysis of 20 global brands.


Welcome to ProgressPoint

To help companies really drive progress on equally important and interlinked fronts, the ‘hard-wear’ and on enabling and influencing wider change, we have developed ProgressPoint — a tool that that will help to measure a company’s engagement and influence on sustainability alongside their sustainability commitments and actions to provide a clear picture on a business’s true impact on change.

The ProgressPoint is a tipping point. It’s the point at which a company can truly unlock the ROI on their investment both in terms of action on sustainability and their business value.

Working with the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA), we will use their analysis of 2000 keystone companies on performance against the UN Sustainable Development Goals alongside the Salterbaxter Progress Framework — a set of indicators, across different themes, that will assess the degree to which companies and their C-suite are positioning and prioritising sustainability through their communication and engagement activities internally and externally.

We will be building version 1.0 of this tool in the coming months and will continue to evolve and refine it over time.

As the full picture emerges, we can really begin to understand in more detail the combination of factors across performance, leadership and engagement that need to come together to drive lasting value for businesses and society.

See your Progress

Contact Salterbaxter to find out more about ProgressPoint and to register your interest if you would like your business to be included in the Beta version.

Download a copy of Directions report