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PALO IT: Executing on ESG: Takeaways from the WEF Sustainable Development Impact Summit

By Stanislas Bocquet, the Founder & CEO of PALO IT.


With less than a decade left to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, how can individuals and organisations act to influence change in a meaningful, businesses-focused way?

Questions, discussions and answers that address this ubiquitous topic unfolded at the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit (SDIS) from 20—23 September 2021. Hosted alongside the United Nations General Assembly, the event brought together global leaders from diverse sectors, expertise and locations.  

Both speaking at and sitting in on the summit’s sessions uncovered several points for inspiration. PALO IT holds its own unique market position as tech impact innovation consultancy and Agile software development company, a WEF New Champion and a B Corporation, but we’re finding now more than ever that there are likeminded partners in the ESG realm that are embracing transformative strategies and innovative solutions that can change the state of our market and our world. 

There were a few actionable takeaways that I believe any business could learn from. 

  1. Explain your vision

  2. Start to measure your GHG (greenhouse gas) footprint

  3. Collaborate with your peers

  4. Interact with customers, investors and employees

  5. Invest!

Spotlight on SMEs 

If these goals initially seem overwhelming, you’re not alone. 90% of all enterprises can be classified as small to medium enterprises, and we can’t expect to individually move mountains overnight. We need to take a measured approach, that applies to our distinct business model and doesn’t try to tackle every macro issue the world is facing at once. 

PALO IT is itself an SME, and I was happy to tell our story, and explain our own approach to sustainable development, at the SDIS panel discussion ‘Future Readiness of SMEs’. Joined by Ariel de FauconbergElizabeth RossielloAkshay Shah and Francisco Betti, it was a pleasure bouncing ideas back and forth on how we as businesses can drive widespread positive social, environmental and economic change. 

A few key takeaways from the conversation: 

  1. Embrace your position

  2. Take advantage of your capacity to leapfrog

  3. Create resilient growth

Global estimates put the contribution of SMEs to GDP as high as 70%, so we collectively have the capacity to make unbelievable progress. 

Any company that’s facing our current state of affairs has a responsibility to think about the impact they’re having, and to act on it.  Consumers, communities, and the world as a whole are looking for companies that are ethical and accountable for their actions. Simply put, ESG-focused companies are becoming a new norm, and we’re happy to be influencing that trend.   

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