December 22, 2023

What’s Coming in 2024?

As we hurtle towards a new year, we asked our team to give us the lowdown on the upcoming trends that our customers can anticipate in 2024. From the transformative shifts in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) practices to the burgeoning significance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors, these insights offer a glimpse into the trends that will shape the business landscape in the coming year.

Leadership

Chief Explorer, Colin Lamb, spoke of what he expects leaders to face in the coming year, and how successful organisations will respond:

“2024 is going to be another tough year for business. Just when we thought we were out of the woods with COVID, businesses are being continually challenged on an economic scale and having to rethink what, how and why they do what they do. 

The biggest challenges we will face in 2024 will be the ongoing disruption due to inflation and economic downturn driven by political, economic, environmental, and global events. The ever-evolving change of customer expectations (personalisation and choice) and behavioural change (how people are choosing to buy) and how digital and AI in particular are taking us down roads we never thought possible at an instantaneous rate.  

These three external factors will drive businesses to change, adapt and evolve quicker than we realise. Disruption is afoot and the successful leaders will be at the forefront, while others who do not prioritise this will be left behind. “

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

In 2024, our EDI Lead Katy Morrison expects the discourse on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to take a progressive turn:

“Talent shortages and the need for new skill sets mean that organisations will be stepping beyond traditional talent pools, and focusing on reskilling current employees, and even reintegrating retirees and caregivers back into pivotal roles.  I also believe that we’ll see a push to integrate diverse perspectives into strategy and organisational culture.

Companies will focus on inclusion rather than just compliance, and try to foster better working relationships by identifying commonalities. This approach will involve comprehensive training programs and events, going beyond sporadic or one-off training sessions to create a lasting impact. Companies are gearing up to collect EDI data, set goals, and implement measurements. Aligning with public bodies' practices, top-performing companies are integrating EDI policies and goals, demonstrating a commitment to creating and showcasing impact.”

Business

Next, we asked our Business Director, Jordan Kay, to outline the pivotal business trends he expects our customers to face in 2024.

“Rather than replacing jobs, I believe 2024 will bring a collaborative approach to AI. Businesses are exploring ways to integrate AI into daily operations, enhancing tasks from writing to boosting efficiency. This shift signifies a move towards embracing AI as a tool for augmenting human capabilities and it will, in turn, lead to a focus on shoring up the Skills Gap.

Companies in 2024 will begin reinvesting in people's soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving, strategic thinking, and leadership. As technology continues to advance and be implemented more widely, businesses need to prioritise the development of their employees' abilities to effectively use these technologies and collaborate with others in the workplace.”0

Environment, Social Impact, & Governance

Our Chief Sustainability Officer, Mehalah Beckett, offers her opinion on how the ESG landscape will evolve in 2024.

“What I hope to see is 2024 being the start of a shift in the UK business model. B Corp-friendly practices are gaining popularity, with businesses advocating for legal responsibility to benefit workers, customers, communities, and the environment. As The Better Business Act gains traction in parliament, this signals a commitment to aligning profit with broader societal and environmental concerns.

With this in mind, I believe that purpose-driven start-ups, having gained momentum since the pandemic, are set to explode in 2024. Aligning brand loyalty with a meaningful purpose, these businesses are reshaping markets, surpassing competitors focused solely on financial returns.

In terms of environmental impact, businesses will start to transition from their net-zero plans to tangible actions. 2024 demands substantial changes in internal processes and supply chains. Companies are expected to enforce rigorous standards throughout their supply partnerships, ensuring a genuine commitment to addressing climate change.”

December 12, 2023

Why We Published Our Impact Report

This December we published our first Impact Report and we are pretty excited to share it with the world! As a UK Certified B Corp we are required to publish an Impact Report every year, but even for businesses that have not achieved B Corp status, it is a great way to communicate important information about your business and the impact it has on people and the planet. It’s an opportunity to celebrate your successes, outline your goals, and plan for the next year to come.


Purpose of an Impact Report

An Impact Report should provide quantifiable changes that your organisation’s activities have been responsible for in the last 12 months; reassuring your clients, suppliers, followers and supporters that your business is ultimately a force for good. It provides transparency, accountability and helps to identify areas for improvement.


There are lots of frameworks that you can use to create an Impact Report, but because Connect Three is a B Corp, we have used their 5-point framework to explore the meaningful changes we have made, and are planning to make.
So that’s the big reason we are doing it, but there are four other important reasons why we created an Impact Report:

  1. To Give Thanks
    We regularly make a point of showing gratitude to our people, clients, partners and supporters, and an Impact Report gives us a focused opportunity to say “thank you” to everyone who supported us as we worked to make a difference to people and the planet.
  2. To Provide Accountability and Transparency
    Each year our Impact Report will let us honestly tell our stakeholders about the good, the bad, and the ugly that we’ve faced as we have tried to implement actions in the year. We do our best to tell the story about what we have done in a compelling way, and give an honest account of the difference that Connect Three is making in the world. It also explains what we are learning from our outcomes, and what we are going to do to address our shortcomings.
  3. To Help Clarify Our Future Focus
    As part of our Report, we have identified areas where we can grow our impact, and where we are currently at on our journey to our biggest goals. Each Impact Report we produce will be an annual check-in on our journey and help to ensure we are on the right path.
  4. To Motivate Our People
    As much as the Impact Report is for our wider followers, the report also gives our whole team insight into how their work has contributed to our overall success, and what lies ahead for us as a team. The team has been involved in measuring our impact throughout the year, and this is the opportunity for them to see the big picture view of what we have achieved.

So that’s the why, and here’s where you can view the full report. If you have feedback, input, or ideas of things we can get involved in over the next 12 months, email curious@connectthree.co.uk and let us know.

November 7, 2023

You Don’t Need a Sustainability Strategy, You Need a Sustainable Strategy

Strategy: A plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.

Have you got ‘Sustainability Strategy’ somewhere on your to do list? 

Whether from external pressure, or internal drive, most businesses have “Create Sustainability Strategy” on their never-ending list of things they would like to do.  It’s a relevant and important action, and one we highly recommend you take – so let me suggest a way that you can achieve your goal easily and efficiently.


If you have plans to create a sustainability strategy, you’ve probably already got a strategy in place that sets out how your business will grow and thrive into the future.  If you do, then you already have something to build on; you don’t need a separate strategy (thank goodness!).

A confused mind trying to follow multiple strategies doesn’t act.

Instead, let’s ensure your current business strategy is focused on sustainable growth – which to us at Connect Three – is growth that's good for your people, your wider stakeholders, and the planet. 

What does that mean in practice? 

What is your overall aim for your business?  

If it’s purely economic, to maximise profits for your owners or shareholders, then you may be good as you are, for now; but a business that does not want to be agile may not be a going concern for that much longer.  In other words, if you are not seeking to identify and act on potential changes in legislation, customer expectations, social crises, environmental threats and degradation – your business aims won’t get you where you want to go.  

If you are considering your people, wider stakeholders and the planet in your future strategy for economic resilience and sustainability, why not double up and establish what value you could create for people and the planet, while on your business growth journey? 

How would you like to create value in the world?  

Economically

  • Profit:
    As your profit grows, where will you invest it for wider returns?
    In your employees’ well-being? Improving your products/services? in the environment? or a global issue you align with?  
  • Job Creation:
    How many good jobs will you create and how inclusively will you recruit?
  • Procurement:
    Where will you spend your procurement budget?
    With suppliers that are local, ethical suppliers or minority-owned?

Better still, how can you be part of solving the big economic problems of today, be it poverty, inequality, cost of living crisis, access to markets...how can you use your business for good economically?  

Socially

  • People:
    Do you want your business to be an amazing place to work?  Do you want to attract, retain and develop top talent within your workforce?  How will you achieve this?
  • Community:
    Do you want to be a great business within your community?  Can you donate staff time and/or funds to local projects? Or maybe there are global causes or advocacy campaigns you and your team can lend your voice to? 
  • Customers:
    Do you want to get 5 star reviews from your customers?  Do you want to be rewarded for innovation and, even better, how can you be part of the solution to the big social issues of today – be it homelessness, mental health, obesity, loneliness, migration...or something even closer to your heart? 

Remember, your people are your most important asset – treat them like this and the business will flourish.  

 Environmentally

  • How will you mitigate climate risk, adhere to incoming regulation, transition to net zero and take advantage of the flourishing green economy?  
  • How can you do your bit to understand the strain your business puts on resources – be it land, water, waste or carbon – and after setting a baseline publish a strategy to reduce your footprint? 
  • How can you be part of the solution to the big environmental issues of today?  Can your product or service solve problems for your clients by reducing resource use, tapping into the circular economy or providing environmental education and services? What new efficiencies and revenue streams could this create? 

You don’t need a separate sustainability strategy, as you can see.  The three pillars I’ve highlighted above can be integral to your existing business strategy. Look after your people and the planet, and you will have a resilient, thriving business way into the future.  

To take the next step – Connect Three’s ESG team have created a free ESG Diagnostic tool. It is a 16 question, 7 minute survey that helps businesses to establish where they are and offers advice for the next steps they should take on their sustainable growth journey. 

If you complete the Diagnostic and realise that there are some gaps and unexplored opportunities in your strategy then get in touch with Connect Three.  We can help you to establish your sustainable strategy and take action to accelerate your impact and value in the world.  

October 25, 2023

How Do You Set Your ESG Baseline if You Don’t Track Anything?

Baseline: A starting point – a position that serves as a point of comparison for measuring progress.

The pressure on businesses to improve their sustainability is mounting from all sides, with the UK Government considering regulatory measures; consumers aligning their spending with their values; and sustainability-conscious companies outpacing their counterparts.  It’s no longer a suggestion that businesses should be reporting on their sustainability actions and progress, but a resounding demand that organisations can no longer afford to ignore.

In this era of heightened awareness and action, the message is clear: don't be left behind.  The risks of inaction are real, but so are the boundless opportunities awaiting those who embark on the journey towards sustainable growth. 

It’s no longer about simply surviving, it's about thriving in a world where sustainability is paramount. From winning tenders to attracting top-tier talent and securing vital investments, the benefits of embracing sustainable practices are abundant. But how can you report on sustainability progress when you don’t even have a plan?  How to know what you’re aiming for, if you don’t even have a baseline?

And how can you know your baseline if you don’t track anything?

This is a common response from the companies we engage with on their ESG journey.  By measuring your baseline - your current status - you can establish how far you have to go and make a plan to get you there. 

And we’ve never met a company that didn’t track anything

You may not know what your carbon output is, but at Connect Three, we believe that holistic sustainability includes all three pillars of ESG – Environmental Management, Social Impact and Good Governance.  All compliant companies are already reporting on some key governance metrics like revenue and profitability, so you are measuring some things! But what else could your ESG baseline include?

Measuring Your Baseline in 7 minutes

If you would like to get an idea of your baseline as you embark on your ESG journey – or even if you have started to implement changes and you want to see how far you have to go – Connect Three’s ESG team have created a free ESG Diagnostic tool.  It is a 16 question, 7 minute survey that helps businesses to establish where they are, and offers advice for the next steps they should take on their sustainable growth journey.

If you complete the Diagnostic and realise that you are not as far along in your ESG journey as you would like to be, then get in touch with Connect Three.  We’re on a mission to make the planet a better place to work and live, by supporting companies to grow sustainably.  It’s good for their people, their wider stakeholders, and the planet.  We can help you to establish your baseline, or lead you on your next steps, from strategy, through to action, and to making the impact you ultimately want to achieve.

We work with businesses at every stage of their ESG journey, so even if you got a good score or better than you expected on your baseline audit - get in touch today and get some positive momentum on your sustainable growth journey.

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