“No Company Can Afford to Preserve the Status Quo”

As head of Sustainable Business and Entrepreneurship at the CSCP, Alexander Mannweiler has a good understanding of the challenges businesses face today. He believes that companies that are able to integrate sustainability into their management systems increase their innovation potential and become more competitive.

The co-do lab was born out the urgency to scale transformation. If you are, say a small or medium-sized enterprise and business is going well at the moment, why do you need to transform?

No company of any size can afford to stand still and preserve the status-quo. The times are too dynamic and the challenges too complex, and let’s face it, if we want to pursue a good life for ourselves and the generations to come, the time to act is now. While the transformation scope can vary, some degree of transformation is unavoidable for companies that want to remain relevant, now and in the upcoming years.

Let’s stick to the SME example. Increasing regulatory demands can be particularly demanding to keep up with. How does the co-do lab approach this?

The co-do lab supports companies to use transformative processes to not only keep up (react) to such demands but also to engage proactively and use them as a lever for positive change. Regulatory demands can even be seen as positive framework to give guidance, enabling a level playing field for the industry a company operates in. If managed the right way, innovative ideas can emerge.

What are some of the most prominent challenges that companies face today that can be addressed (only) through transformation?

Every business is part of a system that is influenced by multiple stakeholders. Keeping up with different stakeholder expectations, regulations, and competitive challenges is complex. Companies that innovate their business models integrating sustainability, including its social aspects, can adopt easier to stakeholder expectations, create a loyal and committed work force and be economically successful. The co-do lab takes all this into account and works not just with companies, but also with all stakeholders that are relevant for a specific company.

There are companies that see the added value of transformation to achieve greater sustainability, but are overwhelmed when it comes to aligning it to the economic-viability rationale. Is this merely an elusive gap?

In the short-term, some companies might still be economically successful by exploiting resources in a non-circular way, approaching the supply chain from a conventional perspective or undermining aspects such the wellbeing of their workforces. However, the dynamics across all continents show a clear trend that business models need to integrate circularity, highly efficient resource use, take ownership for the whole supply chain, increase transparency, and adopt high social standards to remain competitive in the mid and long-term. So the question is, do you want to be a company that is here today, or one that will be here in the future as well?

For further questions, please contact Alexander Mannweiler.