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adm Group's Key Takeaways from ReThink HK 2023

Last week, adm Group attended ReThink HK 2023 for the third consecutive year, Hong Kong’s best-attended and most ambitious event for sustainable development. The annual Sustainable Business Conference & Expo is one of the highlights of the year, bringing us valuable insights and inspiration from expert speakers and an opportunity to network with passionate sustainability changemakers who all have a common goal to build a more equitable and climate-smart future. 

Here are our key takeaways coming out of the event: 

We cannot let perfection be the enemy of progress. 

Within the sustainability landscape, we are seeing increasing scrutiny, debate, and pressure at a time when we also have strong ambitions to make as much progress and impact as possible. As such, one of the key takeaways from the conference was about not letting perfection be the enemy of progress. We simply cannot afford to waste time in the crossfire of inconsistent policies, different legislation across borders, consumer skepticism around marketing claims and greenwashing attacks, when emissions must be cut in half by 2030. 

As Sonalie Figueras  discussed in the panel on Greenwashing vs Greenhushing: Navigating Credibility, Relevance and Effective Messaging, being humble, transparent, and data-driven is key as opposed to aiming for perfectionism. We should not feel that admitting imperfection is a weakness, but instead embrace it as part of the process for continuous, sustainable, improvement. We need to recognize that sustainability and enacting change is a long-term process, not a short-term event. At adm, we try to be as transparent as possible on where we are today, by having open conversations on where we need to go and why. This is all part of our process for continuous and sustainable improvement.

The importance of industry collaboration and partnerships. 

Real growth and progress in sustainability require partnerships and collaboration. At ReThink HK 2023, just the sheer number of exhibitors, speakers, and sponsors from different sectors and business functions testified how it is only through cross-sector, private and public collaboration that the scale of change needed can be achieved. Not only can partnerships allow for the sharing of best practices, lessons learned, and insights, but they are also key to creating value and unearthing new opportunities for sustainable innovation and growth. 

Businesses can collaborate with their partners to develop new technologies, products, and business models that are more sustainable and resilient. This was echoed at the ‘Reuse, Repair & Repurpose’ panel by Cristina Kountiou  from bbase Design Group, “Society is built on competition, but we can only progress with collaboration. When you collaborate and dare to do things differently, you will see results”. This is why we at adm Group have and will continue to invest heavily in new technologies and partnerships, such as our bespoke Green Design Tool, and work with partners such as B Corp-certified sustainability activator, Anthesis. adm also takes an active part in AIM-Progress, a forum to promote responsible sourcing by sharing best practices and industry collaboration, as well as UN Global Compact , the world’s largest CSR initiative.  

Decarbonization: key challenges and opportunities

The most effective way for investors and corporates to decarbonize is by reducing Scope 3 emissions, associated with a company's value chain, including suppliers, customers, and other stakeholders. This is both a key opportunity to abate emissions and impacts of climate change, and a challenge, since it brings with it issues including traceability, data availability, accuracy, supplier engagement as well as technological barriers. We had an opportunity to engage in active dialogue on this topic at a pre-conference roundtable organized by Unravel Carbon  and a workshop at Rethink ‘Unlocking the value of corporate sustainability strategy’. 

A key way forward discussed was to actively partner with strategic suppliers and invest in educating them on the upcoming industry regulations and internal company policies. It is integral for corporates to equip suppliers with the tools needed to switch to low carbon manufacturing and logistics, and more importantly to help them do so using a phased approach, through a shared roadmap, to give vendors time to adjust and respond to the climate transition. At adm Group, we place emphasis on supplier partnership through various initiatives such as our Supplier Innovation Programme, educational workshops on topics such as emissions and renewable energy, as well as our Supplier Maturity Framework, which aims to identify best-in-class suppliers with regards to sustainability and provide support to those that are less mature in kickstarting their sustainability journey. We will continue to develop on such initiatives to partner with our key stakeholders as we believe it is the #OnlyWayForward on the road to decarbonization.    

By adm Group