Is Your Business Sustainable?

Is your business sustainable?

I recently attended an exciting event organised by “The Impact Hub”, a networking organisation for entrepreneurs and enterprises. The event revolved around the importance of sustainability practices and how the implementation can affect the success of a business and impact society. It was a great opportunity to meet some inspiring entrepreneurs and owners of a variety of international start-ups.

The key question is: Do you know what sustainability means?   

The research conducted by the event and the key note speakers found the reason companies don’t address sustainability, is ultimately, because they don’t have a clear understanding of the definition.

Sustainability can have a variety of meanings depending on the context. In terms of employment practices, sustainability means ensuring employers create a safe, multicultural, economical and a balanced working life for their employees – the more engaged and appreciated employees feel the more effort and commitment they are likely to have. In the context of business practices, sustainability may simply mean that the overall corporate policies are not self-defeating or dangerous to the organisation’s long term prosperity and reputation.

Businesses and societies can create tactics that move towards three goals:

  • environmental protection
  • social wellbeing
  • economic development

What became clear at the event is that driving solely towards one goal isn’t enough – all three need to be considered.

The financial times defines ‘business sustainability’ as a process by which companies manage their financial, social and environmental risks, obligations and opportunities’.

Many social, environmental and economical factors interlink and have a knock-on effect on each other. Therefore, businesses that create goals for one factor will often earn benefits for the organisation in all areas.

Governments and competitors place pressure on businesses to address social and environmental issues, however, many organisations don’t see these as a priority. That said, those companies that are creating and implementing simple sustainable strategies are reaping benefits such as;

  • Improved brand image: demonstrating and promoting that your business is actively executing sustainable activities to benefit social, environmental and economical factors will really lift the brand not only to the consumers/target audience but also to stakeholders and investors.
  • Improved efficiency and productivity: reporting and measuring your business activity is an easy way to ensure you’re working in the most effective way possible (including both employee outputs and successes, and resources used and wasted).
  • Lifts Morale: the number of individuals who care about sustainable practices is constantly increasing. Implementing positive initiatives will lift team spirit and in turn, productivity.
  • Reduce costs: having a considered strategy for your activity and waste will ultimately reduce the businesses costs.
  • Interest employees and investors: running an ethical business will prove positive with employees, attract investment and impress stakeholders – people like to be involved and associated with positive activities.

Sustainability is a trend that is here to stay and one that will only get bigger. Be an authentic company, create a team of the right people that are dedicated and committed to sustainable procedures; be a leader and implement new innovative strategies to inspire and motivate your team. All of this will result in economic value for your business while at the same time creating value for society.

Sustainability is not only about ethical business practice, it’s a growth strategy.

You reap what you sow.

Isabel Ruiz Halter, Consultant, International Shopping Centers, Foundation Recruitment

Foundation Recruitment - London

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