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The growing awareness of the limitedness of the earth’s natural resources has prominently put sustainability at the forefront of the social and political debate. Due to the direct impact that industrial processes and economic models bear on the environment, stakeholders are urging businesses worldwide to comply with strict environmental regulations adhering to social and governance principles, bringing corporate social responsibility values to the table.

Sustainability is indeed a broader concept. Aside from mitigating the environmental changes caused by the interaction of the industrial world and society with nature, social and governance matters are subjected to increased public and government scrutiny, calling for the promotion of a sustainable performance agenda. 

Responsible business and investment – rooted in the 17 SDGs and the ten universal principles of the UN Global Compact – will be essential to achieve transformational change and unite all global stakeholders to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet. For companies, successful implementation will strengthen the enabling environment for doing business and building markets around the world.

Such an approach is to be rooted and integrated into our business strategies, culture and daily operations, and continue to be adopted in future years through our engagement in collaborative economies driven by three key pillars: environment, society, and governance.

Environment

The first pillar encompasses protecting the environment and the research and development of technologies aimed at preserving the ecosystem while ultimately ending harmful practices and processes. Preventing the dissipation of already limited natural resources is key to the success of a global strategy for sustainability.

Society

This pillar touches on three main aspects. The first one is the awareness and the enforcement of legislation intended to protect people from any harmful effects of industrial processes. Fair access to basic resources by all levels of society is also vital for the population's physical and mental health. The last aspect deals with activation and allows individuals to embrace environmentally sustainable practices while also educating them and raising awareness among society at large.

Governance

Both private and public entities find themselves compelled to reassess their practices to fall in line with good governance principles. Performance and accountability are becoming increasingly important. Good governance's achievement ultimately fosters sustainability, allowing companies to reduce risks, mitigate crisis, attract new investors, and strengthen the company's equity.

Why do companies need to be sustainable?

Apart from the need to abide by regulatory obligations, corporate sustainability brings with it the added benefit of dramatically raising an organization’s corporate profile, as sustainability concerns are increasingly top of mind for consumers and investors across all industries.

The number of companies worldwide including sustainability in their reporting is also increasing. According to a survey carried out by the Governance and Accountability Institute, 90% of S&P 500 Index companies published sustainability reports in 2019. However, the sustainability reporting principle and the need to demonstrate how a business performs not only from a commercial point of view but also from a wider social perspective is applicable to businesses of all sizes.

It is for this reason that an integrated approach to reporting is to be preferred, as it offers a wider and more comprehensive assessment of a company to its stakeholders and investors.

How we can help you

The transition to a sustainable model may be a complex and time-intense process, requiring the execution of feasibility studies and the evaluation of the risks and impacts of change on your operations among others.

To that end, our multidisciplinary team gauges the environmental, operational, social and financial impacts to better inform the decision-making process of our clients.

Wayne Pisani | Partner, regulatory, corporate & financial services

Wayne Pisani heads the regulatory and compliance practice within Grant Thornton and leads the financial services tax and regulatory team where he deals with a wide range of asset protection and cross-border regulatory and tax planning engagements for clients ranging from private clients, including family offices and high-net-worth individuals, to NASDAQ listed companies in various industry sectors. He conducts an active consulting practice on the legal and tax implications involved in the structuring of both local and international financial institutions, M&A and project finance transactions.

He is the president of the Malta Institute of Financial Services Practitioners and a governor of FinanceMalta. He is also a member of the International Fiscal Association, the International Bar Association and the Maltese Chamber of Advocates. 

Wayne is also published author and an active thought leader in the financial technology space, making regular contributions at fintech conferences, and has a passion for the security and technological aspects of distributed ledger technology. He is also a joint contributing author to "European Competition Laws: A Guide to the EC and its Member States, the leading legal compendium with respect to Competition law in Europe", published by Lexis Nexis and revised annually.

Contact Grant Thornton's Sustainability Team

Download our report

The economic implications and repercussions brought on by the COVID-19 global pandemic are deep and far-reaching, affecting the economy of virtually every nation on earth. The virus has caused severe disruptions across numerous sectors from both the demand side and the supply side.

Malta is no exception, and in order to enable Maltese businesses, policy makers and stakeholders to make informed analyses and decisions, it is crucial that they have at their disposal recent and accurate data that allows them to form a representative picture of the perceptions of Maltese citizens.

This survey was thus launched with one goal in mind – to gain an understanding of Maltese behaviour in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, with respect to:

  • Economy
  • Social behaviour
  • Environment