These days, you’d be hard pressed to find a company without a corporate social responsibility program or structure.
But accountability and transparency around the good these programs actually achieve is one of the biggest issues that remains for corporations globally.
It’s why Bernhardt, a former investment banker, started Informed 365. It’s a software platform that helps organisations of any size collect supply chain information to help make informed and responsible decisions around climate change resilience, greenhouse gas monitoring, diversity and working conditions.
And with companies that turn over an annual revenue of $100 million now required to report on their supply chains under the federal government’s Modern Slavery Act, Bernhardt’s platform has never been more relevant or beneficial.
In 2019, the organisation teamed up with The Property Council of Australia in an industry first collaboration to help the property industry and its members take a proactive approach to engaging their suppliers around modern slavery risks.
In this week’s Changmaker, Bernhardt discusses the long road ahead to achieving corporate sustainability goals, the advice that guides him, and how jumping from finance to social purpose has changed his world view.
Where did the idea for Informed 365 come from?
There is a disconnect between the environmental, social, governance space and business. And so we wanted to reduce that gap or that disconnect by offering a tech-based solution that really focuses on visualising key data that underpins why it’s very relevant for business to behave in a socially and environmentally acceptable manner.
Do you believe you are having an impact?
We are still hurtling down a path that is not very good for humanity on this planet, but we are seeing quite a few large organisations beginning to take issues such as climate change, modern slavery and environmental degradation seriously. So I think we’re beginning to see some grassroots developments on that front where organisations are beginning to not just provide lip service in that space but also underpin it with sometimes quite challenging targets around greenhouse gas emissions, and renewable energy.
I think the space in the last five years has developed a lot quicker than it did in the previous 10 years. So that’s possibly a good sign of things to come.
What’s some of the best advice that you’ve had that has guided you throughout your career?
I’ve received a lot of great advice over the years, but if I was going to pick one it would be 100 per cent total transparency and honesty. Following that has served me in good stead. That’s what our company believes in, and that’s what we live and breathe.
And how has the experience of running Informed 365 changed your outlook on the world?
I used to be an investment banker, so I’ve come from the dark side. And so just being in this space has changed my view on a lot of things, particularly around questioning how sustainable our lifestyle is. I really think that humanity is literally its worst enemy as far as being able to live on this planet in a sort of sustainable collaboration with the rest of the ecosystem, and so we need to find solutions to that as fast as we can.