“Sustainability, CSR, ESG are all the same. It’s about looking good, pretending to care and justifying our bad actions with PR-heavy small donations.”
This is the thinking of those who have not yet understood the benefits of doing well by (really) doing good. I don’t mean by giving money to charity, what I mean here is about WHY the business exists (its purpose), HOW the business operates and its material IMPACT on society.
Bloomberg estimated earlier in 2021: “Global ESG assets are on track to exceed $53tn by 2025, representing more than a third of the $140.5tn in projected total assets under management.”
So, if you are not already losing out by not understanding ESG, you soon will.
Companies including some of the world’s largest and best known brands, such as Unilever, Danone and Patagonia, have accepted and learnt that they can excel through sustainable practices.
The gaming industry, though slower than other industries, has begun to take up this message as ESG (environmental social governance) grows beyond the borders of responsible gaming or safer gambling, and into a core business strategy.
In order for sustainability to push business into new realms of possibility, management buy-in is essential. Not only does it ensure acceptance and funds for the uptake of sustainability strategies, but enables them to set an example which will trickle down through the business. Management is a key change driver in the business case for sustainability.
However, some management, especially in the gaming industry where short term goals of chasing profits remain a priority for many, still need convincing of advantages for the business and for themselves personally. Research has shown that managers pushing sustainability strategies and holding these aims above those of pure short-term profit are key to business successes. Therefore convincing management of the importance of sustainability is vitally important.
A key fact within this business case for sustainability is that it is essentially good for business as it helps ensure compliance with regulations. This means less money spent on lawyers, lawsuits and fines for damaging practices. It is also about future-proofing your business as you are less likely as a company to be hit by the introduction of stricter regulations. This is a crucial action point for the US gaming industry post the supreme court ruling against the prohibition of sports betting. If the industry doesn’t behave, they will be made to soon enough.
Being a sustainable business today is good for your brand. Deloitte’s 2021 survey of consumer sustainability behaviours showed that one in three individuals are highly engaged in adopting a sustainable lifestyle. The same number have stopped purchasing goods from brands due to sustainability concerns. Therefore, having a positive impact makes your business look good and helps you retain customers.
In the gaming industry sustainable business practices also give you a distinct competitive advantage. Most companies are still slowly coming round to the idea of sustainability. It sets you apart from other employers for example.
Sustainability saves your business money and makes it more efficient. Today’s employees want to work for companies that stand for something more than just profit. They are proud to work for businesses with real sustainability credentials, and therefore work harder for these companies which align with their own values.
It is easier to recruit and retain talent in a very competitive landscape. But don’t try to fool them with greenwashing or PR based projects with minimal impact; we are also in a time of “leaks” and forced public accountability.
If you “do” sustainability, do it right. And do it right BEFORE shouting about it. Wespire reports that GenZ is the first generation to put purpose before pay, of whom over a third say they would work harder for a sustainable company.
Environmental changes also create efficiency at every corner. From saving money by going paperless, to cost reducing energy saving mechanisms to recycling old equipment.
These actions are not only cost effective for your business but reduce its environmental impact, helping you meet the concerns of your stakeholders and get closer to creating a net positive impact. A win for all.
Access to new markets
Sustainability done right gives you the ability to access and grow in new markets. The ability to gain new licenses is one way in which these doors open.
Safer gambing, diversity and inclusion and the broader ESG/sustainability agenda is now a core part of the gaming industry’s new licensing process. The ability to operate in many countries therefore is now based upon sustainable actions and whether you are able to reduce your negative impact and deliver a net-positive impact for society and increasingly, the environment.
Businesses who align their purpose and embed sustainability within their strategy and objectives, making true impact on social and environmental issues and measuring this through quantifiable targets are future-proofing themselves and will be more resilient to change.
Those that lead them are the trailblazers of the future, both within their industry and the global economy, as sustainability seeps further into global collective consciousness.
Participate in ICE365’s industry-wide sustainability survey
In order to understand the key issues on which the industry needs to focus, click here to do a personalised materiality assessment. This will be used as part of the ICE365 Materiality Matrix, in collaboration with DigitalRG, to create the most accurate picture of the ESG elements the gambling industry will prioritise in the year ahead.
DigitalRG.com is the only membership-platform helping the industry do well by doing good. It provides the necessary steps and tools to:
1. Understand your social and environmental impact,
2. Define tailored ESG objectives and related action plan,
3. Train team members & partners,
4. Measure effectiveness, report and achieve certifications.
DigitalRG.com believes companies need to be part of the solution for a more sustainable planet for all.