‘Helping organisations grow in a sustainable way through positive social and environmental impact’
Please introduce yourself, and your organisation.
“I am the founder and managing director of Grow Sustainability Consulting. As a communications professional, I specialise in sustainability related issues with a focus on social impact. I have 20 years of experience in CSR and sustainable development in both the business and civil society sectors. Grow Sustainability Consulting was founded with the vision of contributing towards the creation of a just and sustainable world through purpose-led mobilisation of resources.
Our mission is to help organisations grow in a sustainable way through positive social and environmental impact. Our goal is to deliver sustainability expertise that assists organisations to improve their performance through the development and implementation of impactful sustainability strategies thus creating added value both for the organisations that employ our services but also society and the environment at large. Some of the services we offer at Grow is the formulation of organisations’ ESG Strategy, the composition of corporate sustainability reports according to recognised international standards, sustainability training through transferring practical know-how, experience and exploration of the newest trends and best practices in the field of ESG and sustainable development, purpose-led marketing advisory and sustainable supply chain management.”
How has your mission and goals helped organisations across Cyprus improve their performance through the development and implementation of ESG, and what are the outcomes?
“We are passionate about tackling the challenges facing society today and we know that no single individual, organisation or even sector can do it alone. At Grow we assist organisations both in Cyprus and abroad to become more resilient and create shared value for all their stakeholders. These organisations are diverse and come from various sectors of the economy, however they are all unified in their desire to drive positive change. We partner with purpose driven organisations of all sizes, from publicly listed corporations to SMEs to advance and deliver their ESG agenda across their operations by maximising their performance, sustainability, and impact. We truly believe in the power of mobilising resources for the greater good and helping those with resources manage them to have a positive environmental and social impact, and to be sustainable enough to ensure they can do it repeatedly over time.
At Grow, we incorporate an organisation’s corporate identity and culture into a sustainable business behaviour that extends to all business operations and processes transforming the organisation into a decent corporate citizen. We help businesses place “purpose” at the heart of their strategy, redefining their market as they do not feel constrained by existing competition. Instead, they develop entire ecosystems, where the relationship and interaction with their stakeholders creates more opportunities. These companies let purpose be their guide and reshape their value proposition, thus helping to overcome any challenges. The Covid-19 pandemic was one of these.”
Organisations are facing increased pressures to be sustainable and responsible. What are the aspects that companies need to consider when developing their ESG strategy?
“Real environmental and social impact requires well thought out strategy and insights. When developing their ESG strategy, companies must consider many aspects, including their maturity level in sustainability related issues, their scale as well as the industry and the markets in which they operate. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to ESG strategy; it takes careful consideration and planning by an expert. At Grow, we convert your ESG ambition into a tailor-made ESG strategy that aligns your day-to-day business reality. We can help you identify the proper form your ESG strategy should take, such as how to set up your corporate sustainability governance structure, develop missing ESG policies and introduce ways to enforce them; to engage with stakeholders in order to define what sustainability issues are important and material to them, implement employee initiatives building on the internal employee culture, design social contribution programmes, develop ways with which to reduce your carbon footprint and finally propose the best ways to raise attention for both your efforts and the cause your company is hoping to augment. We are here to support businesses in analysing possible areas of action for improved ESG performance through setting specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and then regularly monitor and disclose progress against these. It is from these core disciplines and activities where real value can be added to your organisation, your people and our world.”
How can sustainability become a driver of value?
“Although sustainability is sometimes seen as a cost rather than a value creator, it can drive innovation and brand differentiation. If recognised as an organic business tool, it can become a long-term success factor and a strong competitive advantage. There is now a clear link between a company’s financial and ESG performance. A high ESG score provides access to funding, investors, financiers who consider these criteria and ratings. Therefore, companies that incorporate sustainability in their strategy, apart from finding efficiency-based cost savings, also increase profit. Other long-term benefits include enhanced relations with stakeholders such as higher client satisfaction and better employee relations. It motivates your personnel to know that they are actively being involved in a higher purpose, more than their employers’ profitability. It lowers risks in their value chain, helps build a positive image of your company, and enhances its reputation. It creates trust in a brand, and even changes perceptions of who the company is and what they care about.”
How can we grow effectively by optimising processes, products and services in a way that makes our organisation more sustainable for the future?
“It is important to understand that sustainability should not be an overlay. It needs to be embedded into every single business operation and process, and every role in an organisation plays an important part in making it more sustainable. If sustainability is seen as another regulatory and administrational burden, or simply another way to promote your organisation, then unfortunately it will not serve its full potential as a tool for self-improvement. The focus should be on how sustainability can bring you a competitive edge, beyond compliance and regulatory issues. We need to look at the entire spectrum of sustainability issues that are important in one’s industry and your business model, however it is important to remember that sustainability is an organisational change issue. One can have the best plan in the world for your sustainability, but it can still fail if it is not effectively and genuinely embedded into business priorities, processes, rewards, and culture.”
Tell us about the CSR and fundraising campaigns that your organisation has worked on.
“In 2021, we worked closely with several NGOs each fighting their own worthy cause. One of these was the Karaiskakio Foundation that was celebrating its 25th anniversary and as such had various initiatives we assisted on and supported such as its communication and fundraising strategy, a campaign aiming to recruit new volunteer bone marrow donors for its registry along with the recently launched and innovative self-recruitment stations.
As part of Grow’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme, we also organised the very first Cyprus NGO Congress in collaboration with the European Institute of Management and Finance (EIMF). The conference consisted of a series of presentations, lectures, and discussions on many different topics of interest such as governance, financial management, fundraising, volunteerism, human resources development, activism, digital transformation, and utilisation of digital media and technology. Distinguished speakers who are active in the field of social cohesion and solidarity as well as experts in the above topics presented the latest trends in each field. The conference was a social contribution of Grow Sustainability Consulting and the EIMF.
We look forward to maintaining a close relationship with civil society as that allows us to identify its needs first-hand so that we can then advise corporations on how they can best respond to these needs, each using their core capabilities and resources and always staying true to their DNA, culture, and values.”
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