Sustainability is a Strategy for our Economic Future

Saving money, lowering costs, capturing new market opportunities, lowering risk, higher employee wages, and increasing profits are the goals of business leaders. These are the goals that a well planned sustainability program can realize for companies that go “Green”, and become more environmentally sustainable.

What is “sustainability”?

Don’t assume that “sustainability” is just the latest buzz word  for going “green”. Here are some commonly used approaches to defining and understanding sustainability.

  1. Sustainable use is use that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
  2. Triple Bottom Line, or 3BL, is based on the three pillars of people, planet, and profit. In triple bottom line accounting, businesses expand their conventional financial reporting to include reporting on ecological and social performance. (See the diagram at the top of the page)
  3. Four System Conditions required to support the proper functioning of our Earth’s systems.  For an organization to be sustainable it must :
    • Decrease and eventually eliminate the use of nonrenewable resources in the long term.
    • Not produce waste faster than it can be broken down  and rendered harmless to nature.
    • Not use natural resources at a rate faster than they can be replaced by natural ecosystems.
    • An organization’s business practices should not undermine the ability of others to meet their basic human needs.
  4. Corporate Social Responsibility is the way companies integrate social, environmental, and economic concerns into their values and operations in a transparent and accountable manner. This approach benefits business by being legally proactive, manage risk reputation, enhance organizational effectiveness, improve stakeholder relationships, and elevate an organization’s social bond within their customer base, and community.  If you want to see how corporations can be a good corporate citizen of our planet, please see what Unilever is doing by clicking here.

Sustainability Frameworks for Business

“Don’t waste your positive company brand!”

Waste and energy reduction programs, diversity training, charitable giving, community outreach, local economic support, and the transference of wealth through the supply chain, are all examples of how a business may already be supporting sustainability elements.