If you want to be a successful business, then you need to be a sustainable business. There are no two ways about it in the 21st century, sustainability is crucial and it’s the true marker of a forward thinking business. You only have to take a quick look at the headlines to appreciate the need for sustainability because, without it, the planet has an uncertain future. Luckily, we still have time to turn things around; therefore, investing your focus in sustainability is the way forwards.
What is a Sustainable Business?
You probably understand the basics of sustainability, as the need for a greener outlook and business practices has been in place for some time. However, the true message of sustainability takes things further than the traditional simplicity of, for example, setting up a recycling bin in the office. A sustainable business strives to meet the following objectives:
- Address its environmental impact: a sustainable business should look to minimise its impact on the environment to an absolute minimum e.g. reducing the carbon footprint in manufacturing processes by sourcing local, sustainable materials and using recyclable packaging.
- Reduce its impact on society: there’s a real need for businesses to understand that they don’t need to retain every single penny from their profit margins. There are sectors of society who will always need help and a fully functioning society is a happier society. Accordingly, it’s important that businesses look to give back to the community, so, for example, contributing towards education and social housing funding can make a huge difference.
- Contributing towards a strong economy: the final aspect of sustainable business concerns supporting the economy. Organisations should seek to, through their social and environment efforts, contribute towards a strong and stable economy which builds support for future generations who, in turn, can take over the stewardship of a sustainable society.
Why is a Sustainable Business Important?
The discussion around sustainable business practices has steadily increased in the last five years, a move pre-empted by concerns raised about our planet’s long-term future. It’s an important path for businesses to set out on for the following reasons:
- Sustainability is a modern concern: the medium to long-term future of our society will be governed by millennials, and it’s this demographic who are most in favour of sustainability. As a result, businesses which adopt sustainable outlooks are more likely to attract forward thinking employees who can steer the business in the right direction.
- Better financial management: studies have demonstrated that businesses which set out on a sustainable path perform better in financial terms. This dynamic is built upon the introduction on technological innovations required for sustainability and their long-term cost savings for both the business and the economy.
- Securing the future: the ultimate aim of a sustainable business is to secure a future for the world we live in, and this can only be done by protecting the health of the planet. Without the input of sustainable businesses, there is going to be a significant shortfall in terms of the impact that society can make on the planet’s future.
A sustainable business is about much more than the business itself, it’s about using the strengths of that business to produce a more empowered society. One that can lead the way and secure a brighter future for the planet. It may sound like a herculean effort, but with the correct approach from businesses, it should gradually become achievable.