We recently talked to Carsten Ley, the CEO & Founder of Asia PMO. For the past two decades, Carsten Ley has been a key figure in major corporations worldwide, including Citibank in Germany, Rolls-Royce in the UK, Volkswagen in Mexico, and Lazada in Vietnam. Additionally, he has provided valuable consulting services to numerous corporate clients through his roles at Deloitte Germany and Asia PMO SEA.
In each of his positions, Carsten has displayed a unique ability to transform businesses into focused, aligned, and results-driven organizations. His approach hinges on fostering employee engagement and cultivating customer satisfaction. As an entrepreneur, enabler, and project lead, his areas of expertise include Customer Experience, Agile and Change Management, as well as Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). Additionally, Carsten helps companies implement Environmental & Social Governance rules to be compliant with new international standards & regulations.
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What factors should executives consider before transitioning their business to improve compliance with ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance)?
The primary consideration for businesses embarking on the path to heightened ESG compliance involves determining how their products, services, and their role as an employer align with specific ESG goals. Companies must precisely outline their contributions to environmental, sustainability, and development targets, taking into account the distinct requirements of their sector and the countries in which they operate.
Upon establishing this alignment, companies can link particular projects or initiatives to these targets and regularly measure their impact. This systematic tracking helps to build a body of evidence that showcases the company’s positive influence on ESG goals.
Compliance, then, becomes the subsequent phase, wherein the company pledges commitment to certain ESG standards and continuously demonstrates that its operations remain within these parameters in a measurable way.
Talking about sacrificing profits vs sacrificing the environment: how can a company successfully make the ESG pivot with minimal effect on profitability?
Achieving environmental or social targets in the short term may necessitate some compromises on profitability. These compromises could take the form of declining business from non-environmentally-conscious clients or adjusting products and processes to align more closely with environmentally-friendly or inclusive standards.
However, in the long term, adherence to ESG compliance can prove profitable. It not only attracts a broader customer base but also provides a strong marketing angle that resonates with an increasingly socially-conscious consumer demographic. Moreover, adopting practices such as reducing business travel or prioritizing inclusivity can yield additional benefits. These approaches, while potentially challenging initially, are likely to drive long-term sustainable growth and create a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.
How can OKR’s help in transforming your company to one that is based on ESG standards?
OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) represent an agile methodology designed to establish and synchronize specific quarterly targets, particularly in achieving ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) standards. Characterized by independent quarterly planning cycles, OKRs encourage team-centric collaboration and results-oriented output, as opposed to focusing on individual tasks. This approach starkly contrasts with KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which typically rely on a top-down, rigid annual planning framework, punctuated by monthly individual assessments of tasks completed rather than results achieved.
Once corporate alignment is achieved, Key Results serve as effective metrics to quantify and validate the success of various actions, projects, and initiatives within the organization. This suitability of OKRs to innovative enterprises is particularly evident when considering the integration of environmental and social governance principles into their corporate ethos.
You work in Business Transformation, OKR Setting and project management. How do you see these areas of business changing in relation to ESG and creating sustainable brands in the next 10 years?
Over the past five years, the emphasis of our work has evolved from a sole preoccupation with profitability and productivity, shifting towards more sustainable objectives relating to our products, clients, and workforce. Looking forward to the next decade, sustainability will increasingly take center stage. As environmental and development concerns continue to gain prominence, they will command greater focus and budget allocation, marking a decisive shift in the traditional business landscape.
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