By Alexis Lecanuet, regional managing director for Accenture in the Middle East
A company’s purpose has never mattered more than it does today.
Traditionally, there have been moments in history when it has become necessary for a company’s purpose to evolve or be more clearly articulated. We’re living in one of those moments now. Companies and their leadership are being held accountable to new standards that have nothing to do with what they are selling, and everything to do with if and how they respond to political or social change. Customers are judging companies and basing their loyalty on the actions a company takes and its adherence to its purpose and values.
According to Accenture’s ‘Care to Do Better’ September 2020 report, approximately 70 per cent of workers expect that companies will start to behave more responsibly and equitably than they did before the pandemic. Roughly one in two workers agree that the ethical, sustainable and moral values a company holds will become more important to it following the pandemic than they were before.
Considering the new normal and today’s evolving business ethos, Accenture announced its new purpose – to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity – that will guide the company’s strategy, its priorities and the opportunities it creates for its more than 500,000 employees.
This purpose has been integrated into a new global ad campaign, its biggest campaign in a decade, and is based on Accenture’s enduring formula for market leadership: embracing change and continually transforming its business to create value through leveraging the talent and ingenuity of its people. Today, Accenture is pioneering ‘360-degree Value’ – and helping clients transform and reinvent their businesses, reskill their employees or simply become more sustainable through transitioning to the cloud to ensure clear financial return.
Moreover, today’s new reality has brought incredible change and enormous opportunity. Exponential shifts in technology were altering the way we work and live before Covid-19, and now its impact has further accelerated change, requiring companies to reimagine everything and requiring economies and entire industries to rebuild.
Undoubtedly, we are at a new inflection point – the impact of Covid-19 has put companies on the fast track to the cloud. New Accenture research shows that 80 per cent of executives look to the cloud to mitigate uncertainty and lower risk. The cloud is a catalyst in helping organisations achieve the speed and agility critical to meeting new challenges and seizing new opportunities. To facilitate companies in achieving these efficiencies, we recently announced the creation of Accenture Cloud First, a new multi-service group of 70,000 cloud professionals, with an investment of $3bn over three years.
Achieving speed and agility is more crucial than ever for organisations to meet evolving challenges and seize emerging opportunities. Organisations must look ahead with urgency – but also with optimism. They must also deliver value responsibly. At Accenture, we are embedding sustainable, responsible business practices in all our services across every area of our company.
To deliver on that promise, we recently unveiled three industry-leading environmental goals. First,
to achieve net-zero emissions by 2025. Accenture will make actual reductions in emissions through powering offices with 100 per cent renewable energy, engaging key suppliers to reduce their emissions, and equipping its employees to make climate-smart travel decisions. Second, to move to zero waste. By 2025, Accenture will reuse or recycle 100 per cent of all e-waste, such as computers and servers, as well as office furniture. Also, it will eliminate single-use plastics in all locations after the Covid-19 pandemic. Third, to plan for water risk. Accenture will develop plans for all its facilities to reduce the impact of flooding, drought and water scarcity in high-risk areas by 2025, while also measuring and lowering water use in these locations.
Lastly, the pervasive and deep impact of the Covid-19 crisis is changing current business models and leading people and leaders worldwide to look beyond today to a very different future. Training and development in new technologies are mandatory. These include automation, agile development and intelligent platforms, among others.
In conclusion, identifying your purpose is not just a statement of social impact. It highlights both the value and the values that you wish to represent in the market. Purpose is the North Star for your organisation’s ethical behaviour and drives your business decisions and bottom line. Most significantly, it represents what a company stands for every day and guides future actions and activities.