11 Apr 2024

Corporate Sustainability: Why It Matters & How to Get Started

An essential aspect of an organization's development, corporate responsibility charts the way ahead, keeping environmental awareness at the forefront while being true to social responsibility.

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A simple Google search of the term ‘environment conferences’ will paint a perfect picture of how timely and, frankly, essential it is to keep carbon-neutral activities at the forefront. The idea of sustainability in daily life is a notion that needs embracement at a global level. Right from consumers to policymakers to the small & large conglomerates, decarbonizing our daily activities and operations is what underlines the large congresses organized worldwide. And this is where companies have stepped up by making environment-first policies a mandate in their framework. With consumers becoming more aware of the behind-the-scenes practices associated with an enterprise, it has become imperative for leadership to incorporate their workflow with operations that prioritize a sustainable economy.

More a mandate than an optional purview, corporate sustainability adds value to how a brand is perceived and the potential increase its impact can have on the consciousness of global audiences. After all, conglomerates like Apple, Adidas, Microsoft, and Nike are not merely a brand; they are lifestyle choices that people identify themselves with – and if these great setups showcase their due diligence towards the Earth and its limited resources, the world and those living in it are all the better for it. Now, let’s focus on what precisely the title means to the leadership of an organization and the audience in general.

Table of Contents

What is Corporate Sustainability?

At its core, a company covers the basics of manufacturing a product and ensuring its availability to the masses. In some cases, after a commodity launch, services are rendered to the user base, too. This is where a sustainable corporate approach is vital to ensure eco-consciousness. If a leadership team adopts a carbon-neutral strategy throughout its process, then stages from raw material procurement to manufacturing to final delivery to post-sales services are designed and executed with a low to zero carbon footprint in mind. This strategy prioritizes nature and long-term economic growth. In this approach, short-term financial gains are sidelined for a better future that is renewable and responsible and treats resource utilization with the future in mind. This sustainable development procedure highlights an enterprise's proactivity towards nature and its assets.

And to form a corporate sustainability plan, the leadership has to adhere to the three pillars.

The Three Pillars of Corporate Sustainability

A visual representation of the three key aspects of a sustainable corporate strategy: environmental, social, and economic responsibility.
  1. The Environmental Pillar: As the term suggests, the environmental pillars encompass strategies that nullify GHG emissions, adopt renewable sources of energy, focus on recycling and toxic waste management, and reduce the carbon impression throughout the value chain process.
  2. The Social Pillar: The social pillar covers the aspects of the organization’s impact on the planet and the people in it. This highlights the need to make the well-being of employees the top priority. From promoting the health and safety of their workforce to keeping access to essential resources intact and ensuring that the organization’s operations have no ill impact on the communities, including that a product’s usage will have no bearing on user health, the social pillar covers it all.
  3. The Economic Pillar: For the principle of sustainability to survive, it is imperative that businesses encompass themselves with economic feasibility. This can cover reducing dependencies on plastic-based material packaging to creating green jobs that focuses on efficiency and renewability.

Why is sustainability becoming important for global corporate strategy?

The research papers on the impact of carbon emissions on climate have long underlined the necessity of reversing the toll the planet has had. So, why sustainability is a must for corporate strategy stands to answer on its own. However, when it comes to strategizing a comprehensive environmental-first plan, a lot of thought processes go into it. This subsequently decides the importance of the objective an organization’s leadership has and the boost its presence will receive.

Exploring the reasons why sustainability is becoming a key element of global corporate strategy
  • Improves Reputation: When an enterprise is more forthcoming in nullifying carbon emissions, it gets backed through public support. And as we all know, nothing beats a good marketing strategy than word of mouth.
  • Market Standing: Corporate sustainability transpires into a solidified presence in the market. Compared to your competition, if your workflow is more aware of its GHG emissions and has corrective measures in place, you are bound to receive more financial aid and regulatory support, which translates into a top-tier presence.
  • Cost Optimization: Sustainable corporate measures prioritize green energy usage and lawful waste management, thus promoting resource efficiency. This positively impacts the whole process, from sourcing natural raw materials to improving logistics services with more informed decision-making that benefits the environment.
  • Increased Sales: Customers love to back a product that is one hundred percent naturally sourced. In case of sustainable offerings, the impact is multiple folds resulting in increased sales benefitting the company.
  • Innovation: With inventions promoting a carbon-neutral lifestyle being the need of the hour, the scope of innovation is more timely than ever. This serves as a perfect platform for R&D and an opportunity for employees to push the envelope of innovation in a product’s sustainable metrics.
  • Attracts Talent: Establishments with strong ESG principles offer excellent opportunities for those looking to make a mark with their work. If an enterprise is vocal about the environmental-first approach, chances are many professionals will be submitting applications to it.

What is the difference between CSR and corporate sustainability?

Often, people tend to confuse the two terms. While this blog has spotlighted the former, let’s highlight what gets covered under corporate social responsibility. As CSR initiatives, management keeps the objectives that directly benefit social and environmental causes. It reflects a more voluntary approach towards carbon-neutral lifestyle and the general well-being of society. A CSR activity puts spotlight on coming true to the obligations towards the environment and be rightful to its stakeholders (employee, customer, environment). This can also include philanthropic acts like charity drives, voicing ethical sourcing, and labor practices among them. With much of the meaning adjacent for both terms, it is fair to say the CSR initiatives, with their subsequent impact, contribute to the corporate sustainability goals.

Path to Corporate Sustainability

Being more accountable for your actions bodes well for the betterment of this planet. In this long route to achieve carbon neutrality, smart applications powered by GenAI and data intelligence help with decision-making. From smarter planning to more astute execution, insights based on the company’s workflow help the management make smart tactical calls that drive sustainable growth. Another facet to achieving a nature-first thought process is to impart the urgency of the topic to the employees. From providing them resources to achieve eco-consciousness to starting an incentive-driven program to get an idea popular, your corporate sustainability plan will find takers aiding you in a carbon-free setup.

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