Today, Sustainability has become increasingly crucial for all the businesses. According to IMD (2016), 62 percent of the executives consider sustainability strategy a necessity for any business, and another 22 percent believe that CSR will be an undeniable practice in the future.
The concept of Sustainability in the corporate world targets on managing the triple bottom line – financial, social and environmental impacts. It focuses on the issues that impact the community, rather than solely profit when making business decisions. According to Kozlowski (2012), there can be several reasons why companies might adopt CSR activities, like,
- A sense of moral obligation,
- In response to public/consumer demand,
- If it has a potential to realize cost reductions (in terms of cost material),
- Regulations imposed by government, and many more.
WHY CHOOSE SUSTAINABILITY?
Opting for a sustainable business is simple because an environmentally friendly business can also be a profitable one. You can decrease your business’s negative impact on the environment and potentially save money. Multibillion-dollar corporations like Walmart and IKEA make huge profits every year by integrating sustainable practices in their business strategy (Constellation, 2021).
Small business owners can also adopt these sustainable business models and implement them in their own businesses. The advantages of developing a sustainable business may surprise you, ranging from cost savings to public health promotion to improved public relations.
Benefits of choosing sustainability has been supported by many researches – that claim that companies with high ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) ratings have a lower cost of debt and equity, and that sustainability initiatives can help improve financial performance while fostering public support (Forbes, 2021).
WHAT DOES “SUSTAINABILITY” MEAN IN BUSINESS?
According to Forbes (2016), the term "sustainability" refers to conducting business in a way that does not harm the environment, community, or society as a whole.
In general, there are two types of sustainability in business:
- The impact of business on the environment
- The impact of business on society
The purpose of a long-term business plan is to positively impact at least one of these areas. When businesses refuse to take responsibility, problems such as environmental degradation, inequality, and social injustice can arise. When making business decisions, sustainable enterprises evaluate a wide range of environmental, economic, and social concerns. (Forbes, 2019).
HOW TO IMPLEMENT SUSTAINABILITY IN YOUR BUSINESS?
1. Make sustainability a part of your day-to-day operations.
World’s largest and most successful corporates are now actively investing in environmental stewardship initiatives. For instance, company like Apple, have gone far beyond government regulations in their search for environmentally acceptable alternatives to unsustainable business operations. Apple has pledged to power its manufacturing operations with renewable energy – Examine your supply chain to see where you might be able to follow in their footsteps.
2. Go 'Green' in your workplace.
Greening business supply chains or reducing raw materials usage can produce a direct impact, however these tactics tend to require a significant amount of strategic planning and time to implement. Fortunately, you can adopt several simple practices that won’t take long to implement. For instance, define sustainability goals in your work place and encourage your employees with rewards for meeting them. Small steps towards sustainability, like switching to LEDs which consume less energy will also save you money in the longer run. As, sustainability will be an important measure of success for workplaces of the future, creating a ‘green’ workplace should be your priority!
3. Make sustainability a two-way street.
Once you choose to go ‘green’ in at work, it’s time to incentivize sustainable lifestyles outside the office as well. For example, Bank of America, will pay $500 USD of an employee’s solar panel installation, while Intel offers employees attractive rewards if they support Intel's plan to be zero-waste compliant. As a small business owner, you might not have enough funds like Bank of America, but you can consider sustainable corporate gifts (gift cards) for your employees who have energy audits performed on their homes (Forbes, 2018).
Or you can bring a twist and present it as a competition, challenging each department to reduce their carbon footprint by adopting practices like recycling and using energy more efficiently. Path of sustainability requires an ongoing commitment, promoting it might not impact your bottom line immediately, but sticking to sustainable practices in the long run will certainly benefit your company.
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It's never too late to take that first step towards sustainability. With Polairis find out the companies which are polluting around you, for FREE and grow sustainably!
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