Table of Contents
Overview: Brambles Ltd.
The Beginning of Sustainability at Brambles.
Sustainability: Brambles Approach.
Highlights: Sustainability at Brambles.
Sustainability Leadership: Management Accountant
International Sustainability Guidelines.
Sustainable development is an organizational principle that focuses on meeting the present human development goals while simultaneously sustaining or not compromising the ability of future generations to fulfill their requirements. Overall sustainability aims at maintaining a balance between the consumption of natural resources and their regeneration. The concept is not limited to the exploitation of resources but the handling of related wastage production (Brambles Ltd. 2020).
The leaders play important roles in implementing sustainability practices at the organizational level which makes them competitive and productive. The existing business environment is highly competitive, therefore, the leadership responsibilities are crucially important. Business leaders need to identify the strengths of their businesses while incorporating the capability of sustainable development. With the prevailing business challenges, it is required that proactive leaders follow their managerial guidelines while complying with ethical principles. In return, the organization will get stronger stakeholders relationship and sharing of responsibilities.
This report aims at investigating an Australia based multinational supply-chain Logistics Company named Brambles, which includes analysis of their sustainability practices, and the role and responsibilities of the managerial accountant at Brambles in implementing the sustainability initiatives and reporting. The report will provide recommendations based on the investigation of Brambles for possible areas of improvement (Brambles Ltd. 2020).
Brambles Ltd is a multinational company based in Australia that is engaged in the business of supply-chain logistics and specializes in the pooling of pallets, containers, unit-load equipment, and crates. It is considered to be a leading sustainable logistics company because it uses the largest reserve of reusable containers and pallets in the world. The company was established in 1877 as a butchery in Newcastle, Australia; eventually, it grew its business into logistical operations from 1925 (Brambles Ltd. 2020).
During 1970, Brambles purchased Purle Brothers Holdings and started the business of waste disposal and recycling, which make the company a pioneer in practicing sustainability principles during its growing years. After that, the company continuously developed its sustainability practices. Eventually, in 2020, Brambles was awarded the top scores by the sustainability ranking of Dow Jones Barron (Brambles Ltd. 2020).
Brambles' way follows a robust approach for sustainability practices which is called the circular 'share and reuse' model which is verified using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies. The model aims at providing sustainable alternatives like single-used packaging to reduce the impact of the company's operations on the environment, along with reduced operational costs through more efficient supply chains. (Brambles: "Sustainability Framework", 2020)
Brambles sustainability practices have three primary goals, which are as follows:
The company aligns its Better Business goals with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDG) by following the circular ‘share and reuse’ model. The company has successfully implemented the Sustainable Production and Consumption model, and Industry, Infrastructure, and Innovation models.
Such a sustainable development model, have helped the business in better stakeholders' engagement and value creation. The concept of stakeholders’ engagement aims at establishing and maintaining better relations with the Producer, Service Centre, Retailer, etc. in the Circular Share and Reuse Model. (Brambles: "Sustainability Governance", 2020)
As discussed, Brambles was awarded the top scores by the sustainability ranking of Dow Jones Barron in 2020. The company was able to achieve such external rankings due to its internal Sustainability Achievements which includes environmental benefits like conserving more than 1.7 million trees, eliminating 2 million tons of GHGs and 1.3 million tons of waste and saving of 2,885 megaliters of water from their business operations (Please refer to Appendix section for reference).
As per the Sustainability Review Report for FY 2019 of Brambles, the company has distributed US$4b of Economic Value, but the value generated worth US$5b, therefore, their retention ratio for Economic Value remains US$1b.
Sustainable leaders play an important role in identifying the forming pillars of a sustainable business. Therefore, their capability of sustaining is a key factor in the management of the company towards a sustainable future (Chen & Shi 2019). Management Accountant is one of the primary sustainable leaders in an organization.
Thus, it will not be an overstatement to say that the Management Accountants of Brambles have played an important role in achieving all the above mentioned impressive figures. The typical role of the management accountant is to analyze the data and assist the management in the company’s reporting, and to identify the opportunity costs that are related to the economic decisions, thus assisting the board of directors (BOD) or the management of the company with their final decision-making process (Broman & Robèrt 2017).
The annual report of Brambles for the FY 2019 does not make any specific disclosure about the compliance costs; however, as per their Sustainability Highlights (FY 2019), the overall community investment made by the company remains US$3.6 m for FY18, which increased to US$4.4 m in FY19.
Brambles ranked its stakeholder’s importance through a Materiality Matrix as shown
As per the sustainability report of Brambles FY 2019, the company has followed three sustainability reporting frameworks:
Brambles, to follow the above guidelines, have to undertake a process that aims at achieving their three primary goals including 1) Better Business, 2) Better Planet, and 3) Better Communities. These three primary goals can be seen as an internal benchmark index that guides the company in achieving its Sustainability Performance goals (Brambles: "Global Reporting Initiative 2019", 2020)
Brambles id operational across 60 countries, therefore, the company is required to comply with the specific regulations as per country or region. That means the company is required to develop a sustainable operational plan that includes tailored factors that can fulfill the regulatory compliances of a particular country. Stakeholder engagement is another crucial aspect that must be adhered to because they can add constraints I the sustainability policy of the company. As per the investigation, the company seems to be highly sustainable and have a good agreement and mutual understanding with its stakeholders (Brambles Ltd. 2020).
Brambles have achieved most of their targeted sustainability measures, but two areas that can be recommended for improvements include the following:
Bendell, J. ed. (2017). Terms for endearment: Business, NGOs and sustainable development. London: Routledge.
Brambles Ltd. (2020). Annual Report 2019. Retrieved from https://www.brambles.com/ar2019-financial-review
Brambles Ltd. (2020). Global Reporting Initiative 2019. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.brambles.com/gri-index
Brambles Ltd. (2020). History of Brambles. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.brambles.com/about
Brambles Ltd. (2020). Sustainability Framework2019. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.brambles.com/sustainability-framework
Brambles Ltd. (2020). Sustainability Governance. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.brambles.com/sustainability-governance
Broman, G. I. & Robèrt, K. H. (2017). A framework for strategic sustainable development. Journal of Cleaner Production, 140, pp.17-31.
Chen, X. & Shi, J. (2019). From Organization Sustainability to Community Sustainability: Servant Leadership and Community Citizenship Behavior. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2019, No. 1, p. 16412). Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510: Academy of Management.
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