The Importance of Corporate Sustainability
The world is changing and business has to change with it. Whether or not a business should “go green” is becoming less and less of an option. Both consumer demand and legislative trends lean heavily towards demanding that businesses be held accountable for their effect on the environment. The term “corporate sustainability” refers to a set of business practices that revolve around concern for the environment and ensuring that the practices of a business are ethical. The goal is to ensure that businesses are profitable over the long-term while following an ethic that provides environmental benefits. Sustainability should not be considered just because of these benefits, but also because it has very solid business benefits as well. Many corporations are already on this path, while others are struggling to understand where they should start.
The Benefits of Sustainability
Ensuring the sustainability of a business provides benefits to the shareholders in a variety of ways including by means like waste reduction. Reducing the amount of wasted resources improves profit while also being environmentally friendly. Practicing corporate sustainability can also reduce risk for a company by ensuring that potential liabilities like the disposal of hazardous chemicals are handled responsibly. Transparency is an important factor in sustainability efforts within a corporation. By being open to the community in which it operates as well as to its employees, a business can enhance its sustainability efforts. Among other things, this type of transparency involves being able to clearly demonstrate the fact that the company is complying with environmental regulations.
Among the many ways that a corporation can structure its operations to be both profitable and environmentally friendly is via energy efficiency. Businesses should also strive to recycle and use green energy wherever possible. The use of these measures not only saves money, it also has the potential to enhance the image of a brand and generate revenue in that way. This can work for companies who market to other companies as much as it does for those who market to consumers. Energy savings add to profitability regardless of who the customer is. For example, many companies have realized profits by using recycled materials for manufacturing products at a lower cost which are then resold with a higher profit margin.
Among the myths surrounding sustainability in business is the perception that efforts to pursue a more sustainable business model require manpower and heavy staffing. It is true that some staffing is needed; eventually, sustainability efforts may be built into all areas of the operations of a business but until then a large company may need a dedicated staff to manage the efforts. However, in most cases even with large, multi-billion dollar corporations, the staff responsible for managing sustainability is small.Corporations do have an obligation to provide profit for their shareholders, but they also have a responsibility to embrace environmentally safe practices. The principles of corporate sustainability show that the goals of environmental responsibility and profit do not have to be in opposition to each other.