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Sustainability: Why doing the right thing matters

Securitas’ Sune Chabert Larsen shares why businesses should embrace sustainability as a core component of their holistic strategy.

4 min read

I’ve always felt a sense of responsibility and a deep commitment to do the right thing. In my early days working for the Danish government and my tenure at the European Commission in Brussels, I carried with me the conviction that businesses have a duty to act ethically and responsibly.

As I transitioned into the role of an in-house counsel, my focus shifted to advising companies on navigating the intricate web of rules and regulations. In that role, too, I remained focused on this underlying sense of responsibility. Whether it was ensuring compliance or fostering a culture of integrity, the notion of "doing the right thing" – and the duty I felt to ensure solutions were practical and aligned with the business’ goals and values – was embedded in my career compass.

Now, as the Chief Ethics and Sustainability Officer at Securitas, I champion this philosophy every day by creating structure around how we can act ethically, responsibly, and sustainably as a global organization.

Together with a team of talented individuals, I help build sustainability into our business strategy, so it’s deeply embedded within our culture – and hopefully instills that same sense of responsibility and commitment within our workforce that I’ve always felt.

Sustainability shouldn’t be an add-on strategy

Historically, sustainability has been viewed as a cost driver rather than a value-add, often seen as a necessary checkbox for companies to market themselves as “sustainable.” Unfortunately, this has led many organizations to approach sustainability merely as a formality, resulting in strategies that are largely siloed and difficult to rally around.

But the tides have been turning for some time now. With increased focus on their social, environmental, and economic impact, businesses are shifting away from the reactive approaches of the past toward more proactive frameworks.

The challenge remains that these strategies still largely exist separate from the business strategy. Sustainability should no longer be considered in isolation from the business. Instead, I would argue that sustainability strategy and business strategy are one and the same. And at Securitas, we’ve begun integrating the two to reflect this.

Advancing as a responsible and resilient organization

Of course, sustainability also makes business sense. I can’t discuss the topic without acknowledging some of the tremendous benefits.

But first, it’s worth noting that sustainability can mean different things to different organizations. At Securitas, we believe it encompasses three critical areas: climate, people, and responsible business. This holistic approach not only focuses on the external impact of our operations but also our internal practices, culture, and employee welfare.

So, what are the business benefits of sustainability? I believe one of the biggest benefits is the value it provides to our clients. By reducing our environmental impact – and taking into consideration the emissions from our value chain – we, in turn, can help clients achieve their own sustainability objectives. This fosters a deeper, more meaningful relationship with clients that creates lasting value.

Having a strong sustainability focus is also increasingly essential to remain competitive in the job market. Now more than ever, candidates are seeking companies that do the right thing and offer career advancement, fair wages, meaningful jobs with safe working conditions, and an inclusive environment with a diverse workforce.

While there are many other benefits of sustainability, one more that I want to highlight is the strengthened reputation and stakeholder trust it helps build through a structured approach to ethics, integrity, and compliance.

All of this serves as the foundation for a business’ long-term success. It’s also, in part, how Securitas has remained relevant for 90 years and no doubt how the company will remain relevant for the next 90.

Our collective responsibility as leaders

So, what now? It's time to shift our mindset and embrace sustainability as a core component of the business strategy – not just an add-on. This means integrating sustainability into client and supplier relationships and the decisions we make, from product development and supply chain management to employee engagement and stakeholder relations.

It also means building in sustainability goals as incentive targets to hold leaders across the business accountable. This requires robust monitoring and tracking mechanisms to make sure we’re meeting our targets.

It’s important to recognize that sustainability isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Each organization will face unique challenges and opportunities on their sustainability journey. The most important thing is that we, as business leaders, feel a sense of responsibility and remain committed to doing the right thing.

Now more than ever, we must foster a culture that prioritizes sustainability. When sustainability becomes a primary consideration of every business decision, you create value for your company, your people, and your planet.

In doing so, you help create a more sustainable future for all – and isn’t that what doing the right thing is all about?

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