5 questions to approach the topic of corporate sustainability

Corporate sustainability is an indispensable lever for business competitiveness, including when it comes to internationalization and expansion paths abroad.

In previous articles we have explored why this issue is becoming increasingly important and which ESG levers, between environmental, social and governance sustainability, to use to improve their sustainability depending on the target country identified.

Embarking on a path of deepening companies’ understanding of these issues, increasing their awareness and charting paths for improvement, is something long and complex, but now no longer postponable.

However, the question remains: where can we concretely start?

Corporate sustainability in 5 questions

So here is how to start approaching the topic of sustainability in 5 “simple” questions:

1. What are the most critical dimensions of sustainability for my company?

If the answer to this question seems at first glance very complex to find since we know that it depends on multiple variables, in reality a first fundamental idea gives us the type of business in which we operate.

In fact, if we are a company that operates in the manufacturing sector most likely the most critical lever to investigate will be that of environmental impact, which will be influenced by the way raw materials are handled and selected, from the stages of the production process to waste management. All this clearly takes on a completely different relevance if we think about a service company, where instead many of these aspects are not present. For this type of company, in fact, which relies heavily on the ability of employees to deliver a service, it is instead the social dimension that will assume greater relevance.

2. Have I already started initiatives to improve the most critical areas?

Based on the findings of the previous question, one wonders whether they have already adopted policies or implemented initiatives in the past to improve their level of sustainability. In fact, many SMEs already assume “best practices” internally that respond to sustainability issues, but due to a lack of knowledge on the subject, they fail to adequately exploit them. At Roncucci&Partners, we have developed a free initial Assessment with which we help companies explore these aspects on all dimensions of sustainability, starting with the very points that are most frequently addressed and can therefore mark the beginning of a structured path toward adopting sustainable practices.

3. Compared to where I am today, what are my corporate sustainability goals for the future?

This question already represents a first leap toward a more strategic reasoning for the company, precisely because corporate sustainability cannot be considered an issue to be addressed with spot initiatives, but represents a real cultural change for the company in the medium to long term. In this sense, the goals that the company sets should also take into account these aspects, integrating everything that typically concerns economic-financial sustainability with aspects of environmental, social and governance sustainability.

4. What initiatives can I initiate to achieve my goals?

Obviously, depending on our goals as a company, the answers to this question are innumerable. In evaluating and then launching initiatives, however, it is important for the company to maintain its long-term vision, reasoning about which ones can enable it to take progressive steps toward achieving its goals. And that is precisely what Sustainability Plans are for, i.e., “ad hoc” strategic plans that enable the prioritization of initiatives aimed at improving corporate sustainability, while also taking into account economic aspects on return on investment. These tools are then particularly useful for sustainability issues precisely because the results associated with initiatives on these issues are often detectable only in the medium to long term, so it is important to maintain a planning and verification process that allows progress toward the goals the company has set over time to be monitored.

5. How can I enhance the cultural change my company has undertaken toward sustainability?

The cultural change that integrating corporate sustainability issues entails within the company also inevitably impacts the core values and principles that have always guided the company’s choices and development. All this must therefore be valued and communicated externally, as it testifies to the company’s completion of a journey that is by no means simple or taken for granted in today’s context and that has come to shape its core values, with an inevitable reflection also on what we now commonly call vision and mission. These can then be modified by incorporating sustainability issues as well, effectively enabling the company to promote its values.

Here, by answering some “simple” questions, it is already possible to imagine a path to improving one’s corporate sustainability. Obviously it remains a complex path that cannot be answered in the article of a Magazine, but what we are most interested in conveying is that in the modern world the improvement of one’s competitiveness necessarily also passes through these issues, which therefore can no longer be postponed, especially for those who want to embark on a path of internationalization.

As always, however, it is important to do so with awareness and proceed methodically. We at Roncucci&Partners have been helping Italian SMEs face the challenge of foreign markets for more than 20 years and, today as then, we are able to structure an organic internationalization path that also takes into account the sustainability dimension depending on the target countries


At Roncucci&Partners we help companies develop themselves and their business, embrace change and evolve to thrive in a world that is increasingly complicated, insidious and requires great expertise. We do this by applying punctual methods and rigorous strategies, the result of many years of experience and the richness of the numerous success stories we have conducted all over the world. Passion and method are indeed our guides to enhance the present and build the future.

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