A rigorous look at SYLVAIN’S dedication to corporate responsibility, culture, and the greater good.
In the year since we published A Developing Story: Self-Reflections of a Progress-Guided Consultancy, SYLVAIN has continued to grow — and to ask hard questions about that growth. What is the value of growth if it compromises our vision of progress? And what, exactly, is that vision anyway?
As we asked ourselves these questions, we continued to watch the global consulting industry operate as though the world weren’t changing. As a growing body of investigative reporting reminded us, the largest and most influential consultancies have gotten that way by focusing on shareholder value and executive compensation, with little regard for what, or who, is sacrificed to create that value. Yet we live in the age of increasing social impact, when a majority of consumers consider a brand’s sustainability credentials before buying a drink (Footprints Drinks Industry ESG Trends Report 2022), and one in four have changed products based on a brand’s ESG practices (Glow research, May 2022).
Against this backdrop, SYLVAIN decided that the time had come to institutionalize our dedication to being a progress-guided consultancy — and to define precisely what that means. We embarked on an audit of our business, expecting to discover that prioritizing something other than our bottom line would require us to slow our growth. We were delighted to discover that we were wrong: The bulk of SYLVAIN’s growth, it turned out, has always been driven by our progress-oriented work. And we already knew from experience that even clients for whom we were not doing work that directly benefited the greater good preferred to be in business with a company that has clear convictions and a moral compass.
Clearly, allowing our growth to distract us from our dedication to social progress would be a failure not just of morality, but of business strategy. The smartest path forward for SYLVAIN was to formalize our commitment to making a positive contribution to society by putting social impact at the heart of everything we do.
- That meant:
- Defining our Progress Vision.
- Implementing our Progress Pentagon, a tool that helps us quantify prospective business in terms of value, progress potential, and social impact.
- Expanding the use of our Accountability Framework to track our progress and set goals.
This is the second edition of a SYLVAIN impact report, but our first attempt to use the tools we introduced last year to hold ourselves accountable and set goals for the year to come.
Not because we want to be a social impact consultancy, but because we want to be the consultancy for the age of social impact.