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The Value of a Corporate Sustainability Policy

COMATCH CEO and Co-Founder, Jan Schächtele, believes that companies have a moral obligation to forward sustainability. Not only is creating an internal corporate sustainability policy the right thing to do, but it can also have immense value for organizations. Sustainability is well perceived by stakeholders like investors, customers, and employees, so companies that pursue ESG topics will reap the benefits and set themselves apart from competitors. 

What would you say to companies that are hesitant to adopt an internal corporate sustainability policy?

I would first advise them to identify where the resistance comes from. I can imagine that this is because people are afraid of related costs. So, it is often helpful to really dive in, figure out what these costs will be, and weigh this against the benefits. Be aware that many of these benefits will be intangible like employer branding, and supplier qualification, so it is important to ensure that your assessment doesn't only factor in the price tag. Consider how a sustainability policy will benefit your organization in the long run. 

What has COMATCH done to forward corporate sustainability?

There are three main pillars. The first is raising awareness. At COMATCH, we do things like celebrating Earth Day and having a Green Initiative team that regularly shares content with employees. It is also one of our core values. In this way, sustainability has become a top-of-agenda issue for many employees and helps us encourage people to take these learnings home with them. At COMATCH, sustainability is not just relevant to the business, it's something that every single person can contribute to and forward to help create a greener world.

Second, we implemented a corporate sustainability policy within our offices to reduce our impact where possible. This meant switching to green energy providers, introducing recycling and garbage separation systems, and trying to minimize our impact on the environment in any way we can. 

Finally, we work with an organization called atmosfair to compensate for our remaining carbon footprint. Every year, we assess our CO2 impact, and based on this figure, invest in a number of emissions-saving projects around the world. 

Tell me more about the Green Initiative team at COMATCH.

The Green Initiative is a group of COMATCH employees that are interested in ESG topics. They drive sustainability within the company by organizing events, sharing tips, creating content, and collaborating with the Leaders for Climate Change. The members of the team participate voluntarily and are driven by their commitment to the topic and desire for change. 

I joined the Green Initiative because I think that sustainability is something we all should be concerned about. Companies are powerful actors in the fight against climate change, so I felt that joining the team would give me the chance to make a real difference. Joanna Weiss, Green Initiaitve Team Lead 

How can a company measure its sustainability performance?

The first step would be to establish a baseline of hard facts. Look at things like your CO2 footprint, resource consumption, and external service providers. Then evaluate softer factors like employee awareness. Once you've done this, you have something to measure yourself against. Some of the factors aren't very tangible or are difficult to assess, so I recommend working with an experienced sustainability consultant to help scope out and improve your ESG efforts. 

What, if anything, makes you optimistic about our ability as a society to create a more sustainable world?

I worry sometimes because the impact of our carbon emissions is long-term, and humans have a tendency to think short-term. Things will start to change when people can see and feel the consequences of their actions. But, education and widespread information could speed this process up. What makes me optimistic is how adjustable the human race is. Once people realize that they have to change, then we will see rapid progress in this area — hopefully not too late.