Sustainable shareholder value

The sustainability conference second key note speaker, Allison Kirkby, was in 2017 named the most powerful female CEO in Sweden. Allison is currently President and CEO of TDC Group, the Danish telecommunications provider and at the Nordic Sustainable Finance Conference, she spoke on the topic of shareholder value.

Allison started with taking outset in a recent Harvard Business Review survey that looked at the drivers of the most successful companies. They found that organization that puts purpose to the core of their strategy are more likely to generate sustained profitable growth and stay relevant in an ever-changing world, while deepening their ties with stakeholders whether that be with employees, shareholders, governments or the broader society they thrive from.

The purpose of sustainable shareholder value

So, what is purpose, Allison rhetorically asked – It’s the reasons for why something exists, the reason why something is made or used and how it is achieved. It gives direction and drives change, it unifies organizations, it motivates stakeholders and thereby broadening the societal impact we can have as a company. Hence, it is why the best companies have purpose at their core and close to their strategy. This begs the question, where does sustainability fit with a company’s purpose?

Alison Kirkby, President and CEO of TDC Group

Allison Kirkby, President and CEO of TDC Group

For TDC group with a strong institutional ownership, long-term strategy is key. Therefore, TDC Group has adapted their purpose with a broader societal perspective and ultimately this will lead to, TDC contributing to a more sustainable set-up for Denmark’s digital infrastructure. For this strategy to succeed it is essential for TDC to be recognised as a trusted partner in society and that the value provided is visible to all stakeholders, especially governments and regulators.

It is Allison’s conviction that trust is a vital element of their strategy and argue that companies with a strong sense of purpose and contribution to society stand out in the race to attract the best talent. Empirical evidence of the success of TDC group’s strategy, is visible in employee engagement scores at TDC.

Sustainability integrated in your business

At TDC the view is that sustainability is an integral part of their business, not just a nice-to-have, and it’s critical to build a trust agenda. Sustainability clearly supports TDC to generate commercial value not only be reinforcing the company’s reputation towards customers but by reducing costs, encouraging innovation and improving our understanding of what our stakeholders expect.

Since 2010, TDC has managed to reduce their carbon footprint by 65%.  Sustainability targets have also resulted in numerous activities that has benefited stakeholders, such as:

• Digital citizenship
• Digital inclusion workshops for both parents
• Digital workshops for the elderly to support with digital banking and healthcare
• Increased focus on subcontractors and suppliers to ensure sustainability focus
• Supporting Denmark’s efforts to become Co2 neutral, by setting a TDC target of Co2 neutrality by 2030
• Switching to green energy
• Replacing old equipment with new environmentally friendly solutions and reusing old equipment
• Using more sustainable means of transport

Sustainability raises awareness

TDCs sustainability efforts has raised international awareness and rendered TDC group to be invited by UN secretary general Antonio Gutierrez to a participate in the UN global investor for sustainable development initiative. At which 30 global leaders  will discuss and address funding challenges in reaching the set sustainability goals. There is plenty of capital available however, funding needs to be better allocated and directed in ways that will deliver positive change and sustainable outcomes Allison concluded.

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