What is Sustainability?

Organizations are recognizing that doing good for other entities is good for the business. But what does sustainability mean, and how is it good for an organization to integrate it into their business strategy?

The goal of a sustainable business strategy is to make a positive impact on either the environment, or society. It’s important to note, when businesses don’t assume responsibility for making a positive impact on one of those categories, citizens recognize this, which leads to dissatisfaction and eventual loss of business to competitors who show care and appreciation toward a positive progression of society and the environment.

Companies failing to assume responsibility with their means toward positive progression bring on bigger issues like social injustice, environmental degradation, and inequality.

Sustainability: Extreme Importance

Sustainability is not only necessary to push society and the environment in a positive direction, but it is also very good for business growth and success.

Environmental, Social, and Governance, or ESG, metrics, are a tool several investors use today. These metrics analyze a corporation’s impact on an ethical level, as well as sustainability practices. The carbon footprint, community development efforts, diversity, and water usage, are all factors many investors consider before making any investments.

When considering how your business can impact society and the environment, think about these questions:

  • Can company waste be reduced?
  • Does company have thriving culture?
  • Does the company have a diverse staff?
  • Who does the company’s products and services help?
  • What is the company doing to help geographical community?

Mission Establishment: Once business objectives have been created and evaluated, it’s time to put together the company’s mission statement. A mission statement is a huge must.

  • Define what your company does for help
  • The values and purpose of your company should be clear in the mission statement.
  • Why does your company exist, and why is it helping within means?

Two companies with very good mission statements are Alignable and Patagonia. Notice they’re description of company values and how they’re pushing for change. The businesses with high ESG ratings tend to have improved financial performance, lower cost of debt, and equity, all while helping the environment or society. Simple “Doing Good” within the means of a corporation, has a direct impact on a corporation’s sustainability. Full circle.

Utilizing Sustainable Business strategy: Transforming your company’s purpose and mission into action for good can be done several different ways. Here’s a few steps to get started evolving your business strategy.

Defining “Sustainability”: This takes raising awareness to your company’s mission, meeting with your team, and listening to customers. Figure out what problem or crisis in the environment or society can your business help change within your company niche and customer base concerns. Find out how your business can make a difference in the lives of your customers or in the area your business touches.

Crafting Strategy: After your mission statement is clearly defined, you’re ready to start putting together an evolved business strategy. When considering options, the number one concern needs to be continuing to be a profitable business. After all, the change can’t be implemented if the business can’t sustain itself.

Simple things like conserving electricity or gas when employees aren’t on site makes a difference. But specific to your company’s industry, there are many ways to introduce sustainability to increase operational efficiency.

Results: Taking a public stance and pledging quantifiable results and achieving them, makes a massive impact on achievement. It’s good practice to re-check your company’s mission statement and objectives to keep your progress aligned throughout the process.

In Reflection

Following these four steps to achieving business sustainability can help business profit. A powerful story develops as your objectives become purpose. Results aren’t likely to come immediately after the evolution. The road to 100% sustainability is rocky and long. But that’s life, isn’t it? Progress and success come from consistent hard work and strong purpose and motivations.