If you could do anything to change the world, what would you do?
This question was more or less our starting point as we began to consider the focus for Hannes Snellman’s sustainability work. Our firm has a long heritage of serving the community, and for us, corporate citizenship means the practical realisation of the firm’s and any attorney’s fundamental professional values. Over the years, we have been involved in a wide range of initiatives related to corporate citizenship, using our expertise and resources for the benefit of the community. At the end of 2020, we joined the Global Compact Initiative and applied to the SDG Ambition Accelerator Programme, looking to find tools to structure our ideas further and to gain support from a network of companies who were on the same journey.
Early on in the programme, it became quite clear that if we wanted to make a true impact with our sustainability efforts, we needed to make choices. Using the three sustainable development goals we had identified earlier as our focus (Reduced Inequalities, Climate Action, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), we created a basis for identifying concrete actions. Furthermore, we realised that to be successful, any sustainability efforts needed to be integrated in the firm’s strategy and that they also required the management’s support.
Our key takeaways from the programme:
- We got a confirmation to our view that as a professional services firm, the biggest impact we can make is actually by way of indirect action: on the one hand, advising and supporting our clients, and on the other hand, engaging in discussions and initiatives in the society.
- Nevertheless, we should not forget our direct impact either, however small that may feel. Due to the nature of our business, we may not put a massive strain on the environment, but that does not mean we should not develop and improve our existing processes.
- By promoting and working to improve gender balance, work-life balance, and socio-economic balance, we are building a stronger organisation for our employees, offering a more sustainable service to our clients, and contributing to a more equal society.
- We should be ambitious and courageous, choosing the undiscovered paths and stepping outside our comfort zone.
- A step-by-step approach with the possibility to adapt the course if needed will be more likely to lead to results than a rigid 5-year plan. Small consistent steps will create a solid base for more ambitious actions in the future.
We found the SDG Ambition Accelerator Programme inspiring and challenging. The magnitude of our goals may feel daunting at first, but by choosing a focus that is relevant and actions that are realistic considering our line of business and the region we operate in, we make sure that we are able to stay on track and keep going.
Registration for the second round of the SDG Ambition Accelerator programme ends on 30 September 2021.