Every business wishes to survive and be sustainable in the long term. However, what exactly is business sustainability, and how can a company achieve it?S
Business sustainability is a concept that has become important over time and is more relevant today than ever before. It involves meeting social, environmental and financial demands to achieve long-term success.
It is based on the idea that a business doesn’t exist in a vacuum – every one of its actions has an impact on its employees, customers and the wider community and environment in which it operates.
So, to succeed in the modern world, a business must ensure that it operates to bring positive change for all its stakeholders.
According to a survey by McKinsey, 72% of businesses consider sustainability as an ‘extremely important’ factor for managing a business, while 60% believe it is an integral part of overall corporate strategy.
Why Business Sustainability Is a Must
Sustainable businesses succeed because they care and invest in their employees. They also conduct their operations with minimal waste and pollution, thus increasing revenues.
It is through such actions that they build a positive image for themselves, making employees, customers and shareholders feel good to be associated with them.
Sustainable businesses are also less likely to be targeted by pressure groups and environmental activists so that it’s easier for them to survive in the long term without scrutiny.
Not just that, studies show that businesses focusing on sustainability financially perform better when compared to those who don’t.
Tips to Ensure Business Sustainability
If you want your business to be sustainable, here are five ways to do it.
Incorporate Sustainability, Starting at the Top
Introducing the concept of sustainability to a business and getting employees to embrace it isn’t easy. To prevent having just a few employees or departments participating in the sustainable initiative, incorporate goals respective of each department so that each area is accountable in achieving their objectives.
Sustainability goals should be incorporated into the company’s overall objectives and highlighted so that all employees understand their importance.
Creating a culture of sustainability is essential. From executives to department leaders – communicating the importance of a more sustainable enterprise should start from the top, not just in words but actions.
Allocate Resources to Expand Sustainability and Engage Employees
If the business is to achieve sustainability, it must set aside resources to accomplish its goals. While sustainability should be the responsibility of every member of an organization. A “green team” can be assigned the task of initiating sustainability projects and objectives to get everyone on board with sustainability goals.
The aim should be to engage employees as much as possible. Training may be required on areas such as waste reduction and ethical procurement.
Funds may also be necessary to implement sustainability projects. It can be challenging to prioritize funds for environmental initiatives; however, if obtaining funds is not possible, then applying for business loans to finance sustainability efforts may be the next best option.
Through alternative financing, business loans made easy to understand and apply from among various funding options to continue with the sustainability projects.
Evaluate and Improve Current Business Processes
To achieve sustainability, the place to start is to take inventory of current business practices and see if inefficiencies are present. Think about how resources are utilized and whether there are areas that can be modified to help reduce waste. For example, to help cut down on energy costs, examine whether existing machinery is energy efficient. Also, check protocols to make sure machines of all types are powered-off when not in use. If your company utilizes vehicles, invest in fuel-efficient cars to help cut down on fuel consumption.
Achieve Sustainability throughout the Supply Chain Process
Sustainability isn’t just about improving the social and environmental effects of your business but also making sure you work with partners that are also sustainability advocates.
Achieving success throughout the supply chain can lead to significant progress only if every business plays its part in bringing about positive change. Below is a supply chain chart that needs to be modified with the changing environment.
To further achieve sustainability goals, businesses can develop a policy to obtain materials from sustainable sources. Additionally, companies can collaborate with their trading partners to streamline their processes to help reduce the negative impact on the environment.
Measure and Review Results
Once you have implemented your sustainability initiatives, your work doesn’t end there. You need to have a system in place to measure how well you are progressing to achieve your sustainability targets. Keep track of your energy use and evaluate whether there is a decrease in consumption.
It would help if you also encouraged employees to provide their feedback. Determine if they faced any difficulty implementing them or if further progress can be made towards achieving sustainability goals. Employees are more likely to own the new initiatives if they feel like they have a say in how they are carried out.
The Final Verdict
It is important to remember that business sustainability is no longer a choice in today’s marketplace – socially and environmentally responsible behavior is something stakeholders demand and expects from businesses. It is vital for companies to take it seriously to ensure long term success.