In today’s increasingly competitive business landscape, more and more companies are beginning to realize that sustainable activities can deliver business benefits as well as benefits for the community and environment.
What is sustainability?
In the purest sense of the word, sustainability means “the capacity to endure.” In business, translates to practices that will keep you in it for the long haul. It means setting up a resilient business that will thrive in the long term.
Sustainable businesses generate profit while improving environmental and societal conditions. This includes what they do, as well as how they do it. Making sustainability improvements does mean investing a good chunk of their time and energy. To get good, sustainable results, it is important for the business to analyze their operations and measure performance. This will help them decide which areas to apply sustainability in order to sustain the stated business goals.
You will need to choose the most effective sustainability strategies for the business then plan how to put them in practice. This may require factoring in capital expenditure, allocating staff and investing in the workforce to develop certain skills. It may be necessary to make real improvements by updating daily procedures and fostering a culture of sustainability in the workplace.
Why is sustainability important?
Most enterprises that invest in sustainable practices realize direct benefits from their investments in terms of energy efficiency, cost savings and staff engagements among other business benefits. Businesses can reap benefits from sustainability activities whether they choose to focus on product improvement projects, big ticket technology, or low cost efficiency drives aimed at delivering productivity gains as well as a better carbon footprint.
Some of the sustainability benefits reported by businesses include:
- Skilled, knowledgeable and dedicated staff that perform consistently to deliver quality products on time.
- A whole business view that support innovation from all levels in the enterprise
- Reduced fuel and energy costs
- Improved processes and efficiency
- Reduced trade waste and trade disposal costs
- Reduced risks of costs from compensation, legal proceedings, rehabilitation, and environmental mitigation and clean up
- Increased opportunities in green markets, whose value is estimated to reach $2.7 trillion per year globally
- Improved public profile and reduced risk of negative public opinion
Today, the quest for sustainability is already beginning to transform the competitive landscape, and this will force companies to change the way they view products, process, technologies and overall business models. Innovation will always be the key to progress and just as pioneering internet companies survived the bust in the year 200 to challenge incumbent, so too will businesses that pursue sustainability lead the way in today’s landscape and upset the status quo.