2015 was an exciting year for sustainability with the signing of the Paris Agreement and the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. There has been further progress in transparency and engagement between companies and investors on sustainability performance. Brand, trust and reputation continue to be major drivers for companies to act on sustainability.These trends are flowing through to help shape the sustainability strategies of many companies.
Our services in corporate sustainability include the following areas:
New approaches to understanding a company’s material sustainability issues and how these can be addressed through business practices continue to evolve. Government policies, programs and regulations are changing at local, national and international levels. We are seeing on-going developments in measuring and making disclosures on ESG. Many companies are grappling with questions such as: What are human rights and how do they impact on our business? Would we benefit from integrated reporting? What are other companies doing?
- The Middle Way conducts on-going research and monitoring of new developments in corporate sustainability at a global, national and sector-specific level. This enables us to advise clients on what new developments mean for them and to offer methodologies based on current thinking. We research and analyse company-specific issues and undertake benchmarking against other selected companies.
Integration of sustainability within an organisation entails leadership from the top as well as vertical and horizontal mechanisms to drive implementation of sustainability goals and ensure effective management of sustainability programs.
The Global Reporting Initiative and other reporting frameworks provide guidance on what constitutes good corporate governance for sustainability. Indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index include corporate governance in their assessments of companies.
The third edition of the ASX Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations requires a listed company to disclose whether it has any material exposure to economic, environmental and social sustainability risks and, if it does, how it manages or intends to manage those risks.
- The Middle Way provides advice to clients on their sustainability corporate governance frameworks, and assists clients to prepare framework components such as principles, policies, strategies and codes of conduct.
Stakeholder engagement has long been considered fundamental to sustainability however the range of potential stakeholders and potential topics to be covered has grown. Effective stakeholder engagement must now be more targeted to specific stakeholder groups and issues that are material to them and the company. Social media and emerging technologies provide new possibilities for reaching and interacting with stakeholders.
- The Middle Way undertakes stakeholder analysis and develops stakeholder engagement strategies. We assist clients to prepare the supporting content and to undertake stakeholder engagement using a range of channels and methodologies.
The Middle Way guides clients through the growing array of options for non-financial reporting, assisting them to develop a framework to meet their business objectives and resources. We assist them to identify and prioritise material non-financial issues, consistent with GRI, IIRC, SASB and other frameworks. We also assist them to prepare corporate reports following the GRI or IIR guidelines and to participate in CDP surveys, the UN Global Compact, sustainability indices and other sustainability disclosure programs.
- For our services, see the “Non-financial disclosure” section of this website.
Sustainable management of natural resources
Development and implementation of strategies for sustainable natural resource management not only contributes to the long-term management of scarce natural resources but can also reduce the costs of energy, waste management, water and materials; and contribute to employee satisfaction and organisational reputation.
The Principals of the Middle Way have substantial experience in natural resource management and have worked for Federal, State and Local Governments. Our expertise includes socio-economic and financial evaluation, stakeholder engagement, planning and strategy development. We collaborate with our associates where further specialist expertise in specific areas of natural resource management is required.
Our services in sustainable natural resource management include:
- Preparation of corporate water footprints.
- Participation in the CDP Water program – Each year companies in Australia and elsewhere are invited to participate in this voluntary disclosure program. The Middle Way assists them to assemble data, analyse risks and opportunities and respond to the CDP Water survey questionnaire.
- Preparation of water and wastewater strategic business plans for regional water authorities.
- Integrated water resource management – We deliver integrated water resource management services in partnership with leading planning and engineering design consultants.
- As support for our water planning services we undertake assessment of future population growth trends and demand impacts; effective engagement with stakeholders; sustainability evaluation of project options; and clear communication of issues, options and recommendations.
- Advice on the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund.