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A leading thermal coal producer worked with Accenture to develop a coal stewardship strategy to enhance its long-term viability as a business.
Environmental, customer and wider social concerns over power generation from coal were threatening the company’s brand image and share in some markets, particularly in Europe. The company developed a stewardship strategy aligned with its business strategy to help improve the sustainability of coal as a fuel for power generation and the company’s status as a supplier of choice. The stewardship strategy also used Accenture’s groundbreaking innovation around stakeholder perception analysis and engagement and analyzing the value at stake to execute an outcome-focused implementation plan.
The client is a leading global producer of thermal coal used primarily for power generation. Environmental, customer and wider social concerns over coal as a fuel for power generation were threatening the company’s brand image and share in some markets, particularly in Europe. There was also pressure from stakeholders—power generation utilities subject to tightening government and nonprofit scrutiny and regulations because of the environmental and social impacts of extracting, transporting and combusting coal were increasingly opting for a less carbon-intensive fuel mix to reduce emissions.
To address the sustainability concerns of the market, the company needed an actionable strategy that would help change the negative perception of coal among key stakeholders, reduce the risk this perception posed to its future business, and protect and create value in the long term.
The company decided to implement a stewardship strategy to address the environmental and social impacts of coal throughout its lifecycle, right from exploration through combustion and waste disposal. The strategy would also help demonstrate the client’s leadership in sustainability and position it as a supplier of choice within the industry.
The strategy development and execution process was centered on five key business objectives:
Build on the company’s existing strengths and achievements.
Align stewardship with business priorities to demonstrate the value added by the stewardship strategy.
Emphasize value creation as an indicator of success.
Adopt an inclusive approach to obtain buy-in for the strategy.
Use existing Accenture tools and methodologies for speedier implementation.
On top of the strategy development process, Accenture layered its groundbreaking stakeholder perception analysis technology, which provided insights on key issues by geography.
The company aligned the coal stewardship strategy with its business strategy to provide an outcome-oriented roadmap for the manager—the chief executive—to deliver real value to the business. Designed to meet the needs of five stakeholder groups, the strategy is based on success metrics and regular progress reporting, which, going forward, will inform investment decisions on stewardship activities. Accenture’s established methodologies—including analysis of value at stake, and groundbreaking innovation around stakeholder perception analysis and engagement that provided insights on key issues by geography—strongly influenced the outcome.
“This has been an excellent piece of work that went beyond expectations,” says the client project sponsor. “Accenture put forward a strong, multidisciplinary team, and the final deliverable was both neatly packaged and sufficiently granular to be a real launch pad for us to take this project forward.”
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