Business priorities naturally change and evolve in response to the political, economic, socio-cultural and technological environments. Sometimes, those priorities need to change almost overnight, as we saw with the pandemic, and in other instances, change will happen over many years.

Businesses have over the past decade looked to minimise the impact they have on our planet by reducing their carbon footprint or adopting new sustainable business practices. 

In our research and report, Shaping your future, over half (51%) told us that they are to a ‘greater extent’ and a further 36% to ‘some extent’ becoming more sustainable and purpose-led.

There are many compelling reasons for every organisation to change the way they do business, not least of which is to help protect our precious planet. We will touch on two reasons - attracting and retaining staff and winning new business – in this article. 

But first, it might be helpful to share the Kreston Reeves journey as a way of illustrating where a business can start and, importantly, measure its progress. 

UN Sustainability Goals 
It is perhaps a cliché but one with an element of truth in that accountants like to measure activity. That is why when Kreston Reeves started its sustainability journey, we looked to the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and standards held by B Corps.

There are 17 SDGs in total, with each goal having clear targets and a programme to help businesses achieve that goal. Not all 17 SDGs are relevant or achievable for businesses. Kreston Reeves identified four achievable goals in which to define its progress: ‘Good health and wellbeing’, ‘Quality education’, ‘Reduced inequalities’ and ‘Climate action’.

We report on our progress against these SDGs every year, alongside our wider charitable and corporate social responsibility activity in our Impact Report.

It is a helpful and well-supported way for any business looking to take or build upon its sustainability journey and has helped set Kreston Reeves apart from its peers.

A strong employer brand
The labour market is heating up, with staff finding it easier to move jobs and with more choice for better flexibility, working conditions and culture/values.  

With businesses squeezed on many fronts – for example, with increased energy costs, supply chain delays and tax increases – employers need to look beyond wage increases to attract and keep good people. A strong employer brand is critical.

Businesses that have strong strong sustainability credentials where they look to make a positive impact on the environment and the communities in which they operate are at a competitive advantage. 

Employees increasingly want to work for an employer who does the right thing, that treats the environment, businesses in their supply chains, and their own staff in a sustainable and ethical way. 

This needs to be more than just words – we are alive more than ever to greenwashing – and a commitment to sustainability is a valued and powerful tool. 

Competitive advantage 

Equally, the sustainability agenda is now firmly on the minds of customers and clients. Individuals are increasingly making ethical choices in their buying behaviours and businesses expect their suppliers to hold the same high standards they stand for.

Service-led businesses and suppliers to the public sector will be particularly alive to this having for many years had to clearly state their sustainability credentials and how they are measured. 

And whilst this can be considered good practice, it is not unreasonable to expect legislation in the near future that will require businesses to take responsibility and reduce the impact they have on our planet.

Businesses that have strong sustainable practices will naturally have a head start if and when faced with legislation.

Further reading
The following resources may help businesses who are on their own sustainability journey:

Kreston Reeves Impact Report

UN Sustainability Goals

B Corps

Jake Standing, Partner and Head of Business Advisory at Kreston Reeves can be contacted by email at

Visit or call us on 0330 124 1399. 

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