There is a lot of talking going on within businesses about ‘Sustainability’. Raising many questions about the viability of the concept, the cost and the benefits. In this blog, I’ll give a little background to Sustainable Business and some of the benefits that derive from implementing processes that have a positive impact of the 3 factors that are at the centre of a Sustainable Business.
But first, let’s be clear about what Sustainability is. There are many definitions of Sustainability, the one that is most commonly accepted is from the United Nations that defines Sustainability as:
“Development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
As the concept of Sustainable Business grew, 3 factors stood out that are recognised now as the core of successfully implementing a Sustainable Business. These were:
These are now widely known as the ‘3 pillars’ of Sustainability and each must be addressed in order for a business to successfully implement a Sustainable Business management system.
The Environmental Factor
This is probably the most significant factor and in addressing environmental concerns will have a major impact upon the other 2 factors. Any business growth or development to be sustainable, it must coincide with an embedded environmental management system.
There are many ‘green’ initiatives that businesses can engage in that will support Sustainability across all sectors of business. These include reduction of greenhouse gases, going ‘paperless’, reduction of waste through better process control are just a few. Small changes can have a big impact!
The Social Factor
A business that gives back to their staff and community, whether through community projects such as staff volunteering their time or monetary or material donations are ways that business can have a positive impact on the Social Factor of Sustainability.
To become a fully Sustainable Business, Social Resources must also be addressed. By committing to the development of the employees, the safety, enjoyment and satisfaction of its community a business fulfills this aspect of Sustainability.
The Economic Factor
This is the economic benefit that the business sees from implementing a Sustainable Business management system. It is derived from all the factors and includes money saved from reduction of wasted time or materials, the positive impact of internal training of staff, the increase in customer satisfaction leading to repeat business and more. Depending upon the business and its sector, the qualifying aspects will differ slightly, but each will be measurable and therefore contribute to the overall assessment of how successful the implementation of Sustainable Business Management is within the business.
Every Business can be Sustainable!
It doesn’t matter whether you are a business with 5 people or a multi-national conglomerate every business can be a Sustainable Business. Each business can have a very positive impact not only on its own employees but to its local and international neighbourhoods.
It requires commitment from top to bottom to be successful. Therefore, it must be driven by a strategic need. This comes from the board level and will need input from strategic stakeholders. It must be written into a business’s governance and policies. These will help dictate and amend process and procedures that will address the needs of the Sustainable directives. Finally, it must have the full support and commitment of all the employees. For it to be successful it must be fully embedded into the business’s management and culture.
There are many international business management systems that can help implement and drive Sustainable Initiatives within your businesses. These include:
ISO 14001: Environmental Management
ISO 45001: Occupational Health & Safety Management System
ISO 26000: Guidance on Social Responsibility
ISO 9001: Quality Management System
HACCP (ISO 22000): Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point
ISO 14044: Life Cycle Assessment
ISO 14067: Carbon Footprint of Products
ISO 28001: Security Management System for the Supply Chain
ISO 20121: Sustainable Events Management
ISO 20400:2017 - Sustainable procurement
ISO 50000: Energy Management
Benefits of being a Sustainable Business
There are many benefits of being a Sustainable Business, here are just a few:
Increase Productivity and Reduce Costs
Improved Brand Image and Competitive Advantage
Better compliance with Statutory and Regulatory Requirements
Reduce Waste, both Materials and Time
Increase Employee Retention and Recruitment
Increased Customer Satisfaction
Keep Shareholders Happy
Improve Energy Efficiency
Reduce Business Risk
To find out more on how your business can be come sustainable and the international management systems that you can implement that can help you,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website: www.csa-consultants.me
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