Making ESG happen in a digital engineering company

Ari Koli CMC©, Sustainability Engineer, Nitor

How to turn Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals into actions took centre stage in an online discussion 20 September 2022 when ICMCI brought together representatives of ESG frontrunner companies to share experience and ideas on making it all happen. The participants included Ari Koli CMC, Sustainability Engineer at Nitor, Tapani Varjas, Partner at Juuri Partners, and Tuomas Salusjärvi, EVP, Growth Businesses and R&D at Valio. The conversation was moderated by Kim Karme CMC, CEO of Karme Consulting. The event was part of the Future of Management Consultancy Initiative. 

Ari Koli described how a digital engineering company, Nitor, in Finland is making it all happen to the benefit of clients, the company and its people, as well as the community.

Nitor’s mission is to make digital development sustainable while developing high-quality digital products so that they may have an impact for the customers and the society. Furthermore, it wants to foster a culture of sustainability and well-being, making the company the top choice for customers and professionals looking for long-term partnerships.

The formal sustainability journey for Nitor started with the UN Global Compact, in which it has been a member since 2016. The Global Compact and the UN Sustainable Development Goals provide the framework within which to place the company’s thinking and action, choosing key SDGs as guiding principles in the company’s sustainable efforts:

  • Digital (Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure)
  • Economic (Decent work and economic growth)
  • Social (Reduced inequalities)
  • Environmental (Climate action)

Thus, Nitor identified the expected outcomes helping to chart the course of action:

  • As a company, Nitor needs to operate responsibly and sustainably, or to “walk the talk.”
  • Nitor needs to create a cultural change at the company, educating and empowering its people to promote a more sustainable lifestyle.
  • Nitor aims to inspire customers to do the same, thus ensuring a positive net impact.

In terms of specific actions, Nitor is engaged in the following on an ongoing basis:

  • The annual reporting related to the UN Global Compact principles and the SDGs is an opportunity to learn and benchmark.
  • Nitor is committed to the WWF Green Office program in Finland which is instrumental in reducing emissions at the company’s headquarters in Helsinki.
  • Nitor calculates CO2e emissions (GHG protocol) and compensates offset annually.
  • The company has a roadmap to minimise its CO2e emissions and targets to commit ambitious Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
  • Nitor promotes Diversity and Inclusivity.

Communication is key to ensure the cultural change of sustainability which is the reason why the company keeps the theme up on multiple channels. It highlights that sustainability is not an individual effort, but an essential part of all work and communications. The sustainability theme is extended to core and other projects and made part of the onboarding experience of new employees. The company also involves customers through discussions on what it is doing and what they could be doing together.

The ESG focus takes the holistic view that sustainability extends beyond just environmental issues, helping stakeholders understand how an organisation is managing risks and opportunities related to environmental, social, and governance criteria. 

Nitor has developed ESG KPIs as metrics based on commonly accepted methodologies which help the company identify what it wants to achieve.

What is the scope for management consultants to assist companies along the way?

When it comes to analysing and implementing sustainability concepts, a management consultant point of view brings the following to the fore:

  • Sustainable businesses don’t only create economic value for shareholders but also consider the well-being of several different stakeholder groups, such as customers, employees, environment and society.
  • Sustainable business models create a competitive advantage through superior customer value and contribute to the sustainable development of the company.
  • Sustainable value creation is the ability of the organisation to provide economic, environmental and social value to the organisation and the context within which it exists.
  • Sustainability can potentially bring a competitive advantage through brand and image value, new business opportunities, decreased operational risks (finance, compliance) as well as increased operational efficiency.
  • Benefits can come in forms like social legitimacy and employee motivation, which is especially important for sustainability-minded younger employees.

From a management consultant point of view, it is also important to understand what is happening at the regulatory level and to keep abreast of key developments such as new regulations, European Union initiatives, notably the European Green Deal, and others.

For more from Ari Koli CMC©, please check out this video

For more highlights of the event, please visit the ICMCI YouTube channel

About Ari Koli CMC©

Ari Koli CMC® is Sustainability Engineer at Nitor, a digital engineering company. He has more 25 years of experience leading digital service creation with a proven track record over a period of 15 years using agile methodologies. He is a business-oriented enterprise agile coach with a passion for creating sustainable digital value propositions and customer experience with design thinking. At the moment, he focuses on creating a sustainable digital future. Over the years, his career has taken him from Sonera to Nokia to Nitor.

About the Future of Management Consultancy

Combining a series of events, discussions and publications, the ICMCI Future of Management Consultancy initiative strives to promote the global conversation about the future of the profession towards developing a common vision to help and inspire consultants all over the world.

Designed as an “open source” and inclusive platform, the Future of Management Consultancy is an opportunity to seek answers to pressing questions and to encourage interactive communication and joint idea generation.