Sustainability makes for Good Business Sense

“A sustainable business is resource efficient, respects the environment and is a good neighbour” – Phil Harding

Who doesn’t love and respect a responsible company? Even the competition acknowledges the efforts of a company in the realm of sustainability. As such, sustainability consciousness and drive ensures that a company is able to endure and will survive even if the market and industry environments take a turn for the worse. Sustainability makes for good business sense because in a way it insures the company’s future. This aspect of business takes into account those critical decisions that concern the environment and social and economic factors and a company trains itself and its ‘partners’ to focus on long term growth and profits rather than on quickly satisfying short term goals.

Sustainability in today’s day and age contributes and maintains a company’s bottom line, contrary to earlier belief that focusing on sustainability would detract from it. Sustainability lends flexibility and adaptability to a company and allows it to change and grow despite volatile conditions. As such a company that is able to manage such changes is able to differentiate itself in the market and from its competition. No company exists in isolation and therefore it is crucial to weave all factors of a social, environmental and economic nature into their everyday business. Sustainability also ensures that there are no unnecessary costs associated with processes and practices that will not uphold the business. When such wasteful expenditure is curbed, the benefits a company gains, can be passed on to employees and customers ensuring that both these sets of people remain with the company for long.

A company that has a corporate culture that promotes social responsibility and ethics in business practices will be one that pays more attention to sustainability. Being socially responsible means that a company understands the impact of its actions on society and would take actions required to increase the positive impacts of their processes and business operations. In addition a company that maintains a culture of ethically business practices will also remain in business for longer as all their business partners would view them as trustworthy and hence would continue being associated with them.

The other major focus for companies is to be known as promoting environmental sustainability. With the rising concern on the damage to the environment, companies that do not focus on this kind of sustainability will find themselves being ignored by the market, customers, employees and even other stakeholders. With digitization and globalization, the world has shrunk – the boundaries have become obscured and so the problems and issues of one country especially in relation to the environment are shared and thought about by everyone around the world. Such widespread and visible focus has also led companies to develop hard-core and robust strategies to ensure sustainability and be known as responsible companies. What is your company doing in the realm of sustainability? Are you a company that promotes social responsibility and sustainability? There are many factors that get affected by a company’s focus or lack of it on sustainability.  Being sustainable is about not only meeting the current needs of the current users, but also their future needs and the needs of generations to come. Sustainability widens the outlook and compels companies to think beyond the present. Thinking beyond that which is now, also leads to creativity and innovation by a company when developing processes, designing products and other aspects of business.

As with any other business process, sustainability too must begin at the top – the leadership must have a mind-set that promotes sustainability, which in turn will inspire the other employees and stakeholders to think likewise. Companies that have gone down the path of ensuring sustainability have confirmed, in a study, that they have seen a reduction in costs and an increase in efficiency and market reputation. In fact these are the top three reasons for any company to align their goals, vision and strategies with the concept of sustainability.

This is the age of start-ups and therefore of investors. Even established businesses need funding from time to time and investors now are more interested in companies that practice sustainability. A sustainable business is a long term one and is also more responsible socially and environmentally and investors back such companies since they are certain of good returns from a company that reduces its costs in other areas and rather focuses on increasing productivity and making products that will appeal to a larger audience.

Sustainability practices also make a company appear more competitive. Since there are better profits owing to lowered costs, customers can see the direct effects on the kind of products and customer service they receive. In addition, companies have a better focus on innovation and continuously improving their own standards thereby attracting fresh business and long term business from current customers. Sustainability also leads companies to strive to get better in all aspects thereby widening the gap between them and their competitors and thus staying ahead.

With sustainability becoming a world-wide concern, even governments are more likely to favour companies that are responsible and environmentally conscious. Severe penalties are slapped on companies that ignore these factors, in addition to not receiving approvals and grants from the government. Without support from the government, companies would not exist and hence giving serious consideration to sustainability makes for good business sense.

If companies are to keep their recruitment and training and re-hiring costs down, they must be known as a sustainable company. With so many companies folding up, downsizing and outsourcing, employees need to know that the company they are working for has a forward thinking approach and therefore are in the market to stay. When employees are confident that their company will provide them with job security and also continued compensation and benefits, they are more likely to work harder and remain with the company. In addition, this stability attracts more customers, vendors, investors and other stakeholders to the company enhancing the competitiveness and stimulating the growth of the company.

Even shareholders find more value in a company that promotes sustainability. Everyone likes to be associated with a company that is stable, has a formidable reputation and a loyal workforce and customer base. In addition, it has become increasingly crucial to be associated with and be known as a company that not only is aware and responsible about the environment and its role in society, but also is able to spread this awareness and create more socially responsible citizens and companies. A company that finds favour with the government and other investors is most definitely seen as a strong partner and one that most shareholders would like to be part of.

Evidence does not only point to the advantages of sustainability, but also to the fact that companies that do not ‘practice’ sustainability are severely disadvantaged as they will not receive any of the positive attention and help that sustainable companies have. To insure their own long term survival, companies must get on to the sustainability bandwagon now. It is a powerful concept and driver and those companies that can incorporate and apply sustainability to their business and operations will remain successful both now and in the long term too.

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