Question: What is the 21st century meaning of the phrase ‘sustainability in the world of business?’ Answer: It is a term used to describe doing business without negatively impacting the environment, community or wider society. But let’s take it one step further. Is it not the responsibility of every business to make a positive impact? Should we not be prioritising long-term business strategies and practices?
A sustainable business strategy, that addresses global environmental issues, is incredibly important. My view is that a sustainable business strategy leads to long-term business success. However, I also appreciate that ‘doing well in business’ and ‘doing good for the planet’ are not always mutually exclusive.
Theorists call it the shared value opportunity. Nowadays, investors are using environmental, social and governance (ESG) as a tool to measure a company’s ethics, and how it contributes to the bottom line and how it affects the brand.
Making your business a more sustainable entity is the next step for all owners and directors. Yet it is much, much more than a simple public relations campaign to explain to people about how impressive your carbon footprint is. It is about taking ownership and embedding sustainability into your day-to-day culture. Results may not be immediate, but the long-term impact will be.
Arguably the most critical element in creating a more sustainable business strategy is the analysis and research that defines it. What does sustainability mean to your people, your business, your industry and your clients? And how do you use this information to develop a greener approach?
We, at Moneypenny, partnered with Worktech Academy to investigate this topic, especially given the move away from the traditional office, along with the rise of employee consciousness. The result of this research provides four typologies of sustainable organisations at work.
Place-makers firmly place the responsibility for developing sustainability initiatives with the organisation’s leadership. They believe the office building should be used to showcase their green credentials. This can be achieved by utilising smart technology, installing recycling facilities, and having an energy-efficient design, as well as a sustainable transport provision for improving the environmental impact on the world.
Tech company Adobe has attained 22 LEED certifications for its building portfolio. Eight of these are at Platinum level, placing the company’s offices among the most environmentally sound buildings in the world. Adobe is also leading the way on reducing its use of water, in response to California’s historic drought. Since 2000, it has reduced its water use by more than 60%, after installing environmentally friendly fixtures and landscaping with native plants.
Change-makers believe in the power of peer influence to activate change within the office. This typology emphasises the importance of influencing green behaviour through social support and peer-to-peer encouragement. Companies including Coca-Cola, Intel, Genentech and eBay have appointed green champions to help influence a positive environmental change within the workplace.
For Coca-Cola, the team’s key role is to spread awareness among employees by announcing sustainable initiatives. Intel has appointed eight green teams across its 80,000-strong workforce. Some teams focus on business objectives, while others concentrate on awareness and education.
Choice-givers are organisations that use new flexible work policies to promote more sustainable choices. They try to influence employees who are working away from the office, rather than imposing company mandated policies. The choice to work flexibly is offered to employees, so they can make greener choices when working …….