In each issue of Swedish Chamber Insights, readers will have the opportunity to get to know one of our members better. This month, Swedish Chamber Insights asked Anne Manschot, Head of Enact Sustainable Strategies, about what sustainability means to them, the strength of being a cross-cultural organization, and her view on leadership.
What does ‘sustainability’ mean for Enact?
For Enact, ‘sustainability’ means exactly what it says on the tin: that things should last. For things to last, we believe they need to be run well. People and the planet should not be harmed, destroyed, exploited, or misused – that would be unsustainable. Businesses today have an extreme amount of power, in some ways more than individual countries. As such, they must take responsibility for ensuring their business practices are sustainable as their actions and decisions have far-reaching effects on human rights and our environment. We embrace the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and are committed to helping companies understand and respect these principles.
As Enact provides consultancy, training, and advisory services to businesses in the realm of sustainability and responsible leadership, what are the main challenges your clients often face in their sustainability efforts?
Many of our clients are dedicated towards being more sustainable and acting in a responsible manner. The tricky thing is, that many of our clients are large, multinational businesses that are intertwined in a global market with many players. It can be hard to understand how for example a human rights risk relates specifically to one client, when the risk lies deep down in a supply chain and with a supplier that also produces to multiple other companies. Sustainable changes may have a short-term negative impact on profitability. Making sustainable choices whilst having limited influence on changing the business model is one of the key challenges for our clients.
How does Enact invest in employee development and professional growth in the organization?
We are not a hierarchical organization. We let our consultants push their boundaries and we offer support and advice along the way. We like to think of ourselves as a caring organization that takes all our employees’ own career and personal development seriously. We want to grow together and develop professionally and personally.
Does Enact profile itself as a Swedish brand? If yes, how and why?
We profile ourselves as an international brand, founded in Sweden. Our individual offices in the Netherlands, Finland, and China are very much engaged in the specifics of each market. However, as we have our roots in Sweden, and most of our team works there, we do connect to the Swedish part of our identity. For example, we regularly hold (online) fikas with team members!
With Enact being active in Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, and China, how do you effectively manage and embrace the diverse business cultures inherent in working within an international team? What are some of the key cultural differences or nuances you’ve observed in your organization?
There is strength in diversity – and we seek to build on these strengths by giving each team the space they deserve. We love to collaborate across borders and create project teams with consultants from different countries. We learn a lot from each other this way – from the Dutch ability to point out the key issue, the Finnish strength to listen and reflect, and the Swedish focus on harmony and working well together. We created a business culture that leaves space for the individual as well as the team, and are proud to have a multinational bunch of colleagues. We spend quite some time on building this team spirit (the ‘glue’, as it has been called), and making sure we get to know, understand, and trust each other. Enact is built by and with people, so, we always put people first.
What upcoming events in the Swedish Chamber calendar are you at Enact most excited about attending, and who do you hope to meet there?
We are particularly looking forward to the Swedish Chamber of Commerce Sustainability & Innovation Summit “Driving the Green Transition Together“. We are especially keen to hear from speakers about how they think the green transition can truly be done sustainably – without severely harming human rights. A real sustainable transition is not just about the environment, it is about people too.
Photo Credits: Margareta Bloom Sandebäck for Enact Sustainable Strategies