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The Continued Importance of Sustainability in Business

SAM WILSON

CO-FOUNDER

The Continued Importance of Sustainability in Business

The notion of large corporations making up the rules as they go along and turning into hungry, money making machines at the beck and call of shareholders is far removed from the experience of most companies.

Sustainability in business has become ever more important over the last couple of decades and has been accompanied by changes in legislation and corporate focus during this time. It covers a wide range of behaviours and outcomes for businesses and they are all increasingly at the centre of marketing and growth strategies.

Though it has gained more notice recently because of its relation to environmental impact, the issue of sustainability is much more widespread than many people think.

Environmental Sustainability

Businesses nowadays have a legal obligation to act in an environmentally sustainable way. That means they have to cut down their carbon emissions as much as possible, perhaps by reviewing their office procedures including how much electricity they produce or what type of cars they use for sales fleets.

For many companies, environmental sustainability in business has become a badge of honour and has been incorporated as part of their marketing strategies. For instance, large retailers like Ikea have made a great show out of the installation of solar panels on many of their stores to save on electricity.

Environmental sustainability is big but it’s by no means the only thing that business need to keep on top of. While we may all be working hard to reduce the amount of harmful emissions we produce, other sustainability issues such as treating staff properly and behaving in an ethical manner are also highly important.

Employing Staff and Sustainability

Having the right measures in place for employing, developing and handling staff is critical to the growth of all businesses. Having sustainable procedures and processes that not only attract the right kind of employees but also keep them happy while they are working for you has become more and more important over the years. Particularly when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent, businesses need to be on the ball and flexible in the way they deal with employees if they want to keep the best of the best.

Sustainable Business Practices

Especially with the growth of areas such as social media where consumers have a much louder “voice” through which to share their opinions, having sustainable business practices is vital. Companies need to make sure that they don’t implement measures that could severely damage their reputation. It doesn’t just include the business itself but those companies it deals with in the supply chain. For example, there have been numerous examples of large corporations that have been caught out by using low cost sweat shop labour in poorer parts of the world. This is perhaps one of the major issues facing large companies today as they try to maintain quality at a reduced cost that meets the requirements of customers looking for a good deal. Getting found out can cause damage to reputations which can quickly go viral on social media and news outlets (complete with shocking photos).

Sustainability in business isn’t just an issue for large companies and corporations. Small and medium size business also have their sustainability issues to contend with and getting it right is no easy matter.

Sustainability in business is not only important on an ethical standing, it’s also vital for the success and development of many companies from the moment they are first conceived to the time they become a major player on the world stage.

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