A Business-First Approach to Sustainability
The Bruntland report defines sustainable development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Expanding upon that, sustainable practices are practices that:
1) At a basic minimum, do not damage the planet or its population and at best create value for relevant stakeholders
2) Focus on improving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance
3) Address the material issues of an organization which have direct environmental, social and financial impact (such as in their operations, value chain, or shareholders).
A lot of companies still prioritize short term profits above sustainability. However, some of the most successful companies are adopting a business-first approach to sustainability. Moreover, we embrace sustainability as a culture in every aspect of our lives – from the products we buy to the lifestyle we adopt.
The developing dialog and activity on socio-ecological issues universally demands that organizations identify opportunities and risks related to climate change and create maintainable plans of action that will supplement ESG standards at all administrative and operational levels.
Whether it is managing risk pertaining to market volatility, creating business value by incorporating sustainable solutions, or recognizing innovative ways to finance sustainability – the private sector is fast becoming the engine of competitive solutions to sustainability and can help address sustainability challenges in the years ahead.
Latest academic and business research indicates that most companies with robust accountability systems – broad oversight, clear policies on human rights and environmental management, active stakeholder engagement and disclosures – have brilliant results like reduced greenhouse gas emissions, transition to green economy, great supplier engagement, as well as effortless incorporation of sustainability into their products and services. Fail to deliver on any of those, and the inevitable result would be fewer orders and decreased customer loyalty.
First and foremost one must recognize that sustainability means serious business and secondly the return on investment is guaranteed. The Business and Sustainable Development Commission estimates that by 2030 approximately $12 trillion in business savings and revenue can be generated, simply by meeting the UN SDGs and with the added benefit of creating 380 million jobs.
SustainPlus is an award winning sustainability and CSR consulting firm, working to bring about positive socio-environmental impacts by aiding companies on their journey to efficiently leverage climate change solutions. We work on a two-fold strategy to attain goals aligned with our clients’ initiatives – identifying opportunities and developing pioneering business cases, to make sustainability a source of perennial value creation. We believe changing the way companies approach sustainability is an untapped potential and it needs to be capitalized upon. We specialize in helping under-resourced organizations as well as large, multinational companies implement sustainable solutions. We are here to prove to you that one does not have to sacrifice profit to embrace sustainability.
The results are in, ‘green consumerism’ is here to stay; i.e. customers preferring companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact over those that conduct business as usual. Thereby making profitability and sustainability mutually inclusive business objectives.
The most important question now is: what are you, as an organization, willing to do to safeguard your future?