Updated: Aug 19, 2020
ECONOMICALLY VIABLE Sustainability. Can you believe it?
The benefits of embedding sustainable solutions into your business operation go beyond financial return. There is an improvement to asset resilience, reduced risk profile, connection to the broader community expectations and an increase in employee retention. Let's not forget the bragging rights.
The current market is seeing rapid changes, because of growing demand from the community and global pressures for businesses to embrace environmental sustainability through their Environmental Social Governance (ESG) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments. In Australia, sustainability is supported by grass-roots organisations, but the total uptake by big companies and corporate firms is much slower.
OFTEN, when we think about sustainability, we imagine minimalistic, green and earthy looking products. We don't imagine progressive and innovative cutting-edge businesses operating at near optimal levels. The current perception seems simplistic and more focused on lifestyle choices.
So what can a sustainable business look like?
The application of sustainability to any and every type of businesses seems challenging to grasp. With the lack of proactive Federal support, it is difficult for companies to embrace what they currently consider a non-Business-As-Usual (BAU) cost. Many questions/concerns may arise. The answers to these questions might help clear the mist around what completely sustainable business might look like.
Common Questions: What does sustainability mean? How can it work within my business? Will there be tangible benefits? Can it genuinely reduce our environmental footprint?
Considering these questions in order, it would be first necessary to define what sustainability means. Furthermore, what does it mean for the human race to continue to thrive within the boundaries of sustainable development? Sustainable Development is about human-driven progress that will meet the present needs of society without compromising the long-term needs of future generations.
Numerous opportunities and actions could take an organisation to the next level of sustainable operation. So defining how it might work would vary for each business. Overall if your company adopted a wholistic integrated sustainable ethos, it would drastically reduce resource usage and wastage, improve resilience and longevity in the operations and create value through a circular economy.
First, let's clarify the meaning of tangible benefits; it is imperative that we are clear on what it means. If something is tangible, it doesn't have to be physical or direct. Ultimately it means a real benefit, which can be defined quantitatively AND qualitatively. The tangible benefits of espousing a more sustainable enterprise are through the financial return, but also through improved asset resilience and flattening the risk curve. Sustainable businesses are seen as listening to public expectations, and it results in happier employees, therefore increased employee retention. And of course, you get to tell the world about the great choices you are making. WAIT! There is more! Fulfilling climate diligence through governance and operations also improves your credit rating. Nowadays, insurers want to know your business is reducing climate risks through operational sustainably.
Finally YES! Adopting sustainable solutions will reduce your businesses environmental footprint. By designing for re-use, incorporating embedded efficiencies, creating more feedback loops and ultimately reducing excessive consumption and resulting waste streams, the overall ecological footprint is drastically diminished.