The first thing that comes to mind when I think of sustainability is environmentalism and that we should seek to make sure, there are enough resources for future generations. We should maintain the environment and try to reduce our impact.
In business, I believe that sustainability is ensuring the long-term survival of the business through effective use of resource management in both financial and human capital. Using research and development to increase efficiencies and use new renewable materials. Ensuring that they have the resources they need by maintaining strong relationships with both supplier and customer.
It is in the best interests of organizations to think sustainably. Limited resources can increasingly be more expensive therefore, an organization needs to keep a watchful eye on their use and look for alternatives. This leads them to also think outside their local and think global, as there may be better global suppliers or new more sustainable offerings.
Part of sustainability is being in touch with the community as the environment is always changing. An organization must always monitor competition, changing customer needs and new opportunities.
Following a sustainability strategy makes good business sense. It gets management to look at ways that can increase efficiency and improve performance. It takes a hard look at the supply chain, asks how suppliers are performing, and holds them accountable. It looks at both environmental and community impacts. It helps the organization to become a good corporate citizen. The company can also be marketed in a way to improve public appearance.
Management must work to plan and execute as well as fully support the plan in order for it to be successful. It takes great vision to develop long-term plans and through great leadership convince those who may oppose such a plan. Management must make hard decisions to set goals and metrics in order to track their organizations performance.
Management must engage their employees for any sustainable actions to take hold in the organization. It is through the employees that the plan will either succeed or fail.
Management especially the CEO and board of an organization are accountable to shareholders to maximize the value of their company and do what is in the best interests to maximize their stock price. As a shareholder, the expectation is increased wealth through investment. Management must show shareholders that their investment is being well looked after. Shareholders must be shown that the company’s purpose for a sustainability approach is for the long-term survivability of the organization. It will improve long-term growth and profits.