We were rewarded with a trip to the Expo Milano 2015. As we took in the buzz and energy of the 110 hectare large exposition site and walked to meet our Accenture Strategy hosts, I felt as if we had stepped into a sci-fi movie. The Expo is a magnificent experience; it was fascinating to see how hundreds of exhibiting countries and companies managed to find a common ground around the same topic: food.
Every step I took at the Expo, Accenture’s clever play on words – sustainability to innovability – lingered in my mind. This phrase might seem as an oxymoron but it holds deep and true meaning: there is no innovation without sustainability. Businesses cannot keep afloat and succeed if they do not innovate and at the same time, sustain their success.
We share the same planet and limited natural resources and now more than ever ‘sustainability’ plays a key role in ensuring that what we have today can be enjoyed by future generations. We all need to find a way to keep blossoming, developing and – well, let’s be honest, we all want it – being successful without harming the environment.
Sustainability is not something that only environmental researchers and tree-huggers should be worried about; it is a cornerstone of any smart business. Environmental accounting should go hand in hand with reporting on a company’s financial results. Accenture Strategy, a global firm that puts strategy at the heart of its operations, invited me and my part-time MBA colleagues to visit their ultra-modern Expo lounge and see sustainability through their eyes. There we met Aldo Pozzoli who – after treating us to refreshments – talked about his unique task of helping Accenture deliver customized sustainability strategies to clients around the world.
Some of the issues that Aldo mentioned, for example, depleting natural resources and the immense toll that their transformation into finished goods takes on our planet and environment, were not new to me but what touched me the most was his explanation of a circular economy. He explained that in a circular economy growth is decoupled from the use of limited resources through disruptive technology and business models based on longevity, renewability, reuse, repair, upgrade, refurbishment, capacity sharing and dematerialization. I was surprised of how logical this sounded and shocked that I hadn’t heard about it before. This approach is essential for any sustainability goal to succeed; it leads to companies gaining a ‘circular advantage’ – driving both resource efficiency and customer value.
Accenture’s presentation and warm welcome to the Expo inspired me to wear sustainability and ‘innovability’ on my sleeve, both as I continue my studies at LUISS and as I decide what my next professional objective is going to be.
LUISS BS part-time MBA