07 Jun 2024

Sustainability in Business: Discover Why It Matters Now!

Sustainability in business can make an organization stand out in terms of scalability and, most essentially, brand standing from a customer point of view. If done right, it can prove to be a boon.

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Every decade has an undercurrent of many events highlighting a tidal shift in how we as global citizens work. From embracing wireless technology in communication to entering the world of virtual reality and gauging the what-if scenarios for maximum impact in real-time, technology has given shape to our decision-making with much more authority. But as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. A quote from pop culture which spills over to the ethos of how our choices influence the very world we live in. From checking the carbon footprint of the commodities we use to the consumables we prefer, to the products we buy, to the cars we drive, consumers are now very much aware of the direct emissions they are contributing to the planet. The same awareness has now transpired in the planning and execution of enterprises’ functioning. With their role much more prominent for the wrong reasons (read: biggest GHG emissions contributor abetting global temperature rise), it indeed has been an absolute catch-up duty for organizations, especially MNCs, to be much more cognizant of their actions that effect the environment. For SCM, each process, from procurement to final delivery of the finished product, has to be under the sustainability guidelines outlined by the authority or governing body.

Businesses are now actively investing in strategies that align with their SDG goals (sustainable development goals) to ensure that their value chain is based on sustainable practices. Let’s explore how the concept has evolved in the workings of organizations across the globe.

What is Sustainability in Business?

As the phrase suggests, sustainability in business covers the functioning of a company without negatively impacting the environment and its assets. It’s also a comprehensive take on how businesses outline the most ethical and responsible way of generating revenue without sidelining any ill consequences it might have on Earth and its precious reserves. With organizations battling against GHG emissions already generations late, stakeholders have to be proactive about the adoption of methods that scale their operation without any unwarranted risks associated with an environmental point of view. These efforts can take form in many ways, such as:

  • Usage of alternate renewable resources that have zero carbon footprint.
  • Working on infrastructure that backs sustainable protocols, reduces GHG emissions, and handles waste management impeccably.
  • Have a dynamic workflow that promotes reuse, reduce, and recycle principles.
  • Backing functional flow, which assesses risks, improves resiliency and complies with regulations.

Why is Sustainability in Business Important?

The norms of how businesses are being conducted have changed completely. Now, the definition of success and scalability is synonymous with how responsible corporates are and how effectively stakeholders are going about it. With Earth being addressed to a population of 8.1 billion people and countless flora and fauna, companies have to be very educated about the impact of their actions. With resources already facing a countdown timer, organizations have to think about how efficiently they function and, more importantly, what they can give back to balance the scales in nature’s favor. Apart from a strong moral case, it’s also a financial and brand image factor that has made SCM think long and hard about its approach to sustainability development goals.

  • Customers and employees want to be associated with a brand that is conscious of its actions and has measurements in place that aid renewable efforts.
  • A recent study also found that customers are willing to pay a premium for a product that sees its origins, manufacturing, and operation sustainably.
  • Stakeholders and investors too are on a lookout to back organizations which have keen focus on reducing their GHG emissions and are transparent by publishing their annual environmental report.

Enterprises have noticed the dynamic shift in how consumers encourage business with green footing. This notion has catalyzed companies' focal points to keep their decarbonization effort paramount, resulting in the adoption of a greener business model to increase brand awareness, loyalty, and scalability prospects.

What Are the Benefits of Sustainability in Business?

Investment in sustainability generates considerable business value in the north, with virtues that extend far beyond the financial well-being of an organization.

A infographic showcasing the benefits of sustainability in business
  • Brand Standing: When your company makes waves for being a flagbearer on the sustainability forefront, you get all the good publicity that translates this attention into a strong competitive advantage in the market. This attracts new customers and investors alike, boosting an organization’s relevance.
  • Compliance: Deploying sustainable solutions puts your enterprise ahead when it comes to adapting or complying with regulations. While other enterprises determine how their framework adopts the new guidelines, your business sees continuity no matter what.
  • Attracts Best Talent: Many new crops of employees look to set a marker by actively contributing through an organization’s presence towards sustainability. This also helps to retain the best employees on board, since current employees spread the word about the company’s efforts.
  • Revenue: With functions no longer dependent on extensive usage of resources with the inculcation of renewable energy, the enduring benefits of implementing sustainable practices coupled with smart applications that boost efficiencies set a roadmap for immense revenue growth in the long term.

What Are the Challenges with Sustainability in Business?

We know that sustainability is an exciting prospect, but it also has its fair share of challenges that might put off some organizations.

A chart or infographic highlighting challenges with sustainability in business
  • Investment Support and Lack of Resource: Sustainability, like any other pillar in the functioning of the supply chain, needs initial investments and resources to make it work. With each function of the value chain needing to update its process in accordance with the carbon emissions principles, the capital investment required upfront can be a daunting task for some stakeholders.
  • Decision-Makers Involvement: It’s very important for the ascendancy of an organization that all personnel, most notably the decision-makers, are on board with the idea of bringing in a positive change. This proves to be an immense catalyst for the rest of the employees, too. From an employee engagement point of view, companies can make special engagement programs via incentives to make sure that the positive chain reaction sees continuous backing.
  • Proper Planning: Even if a company secures the required resources and capital, it is up to astute planning to ensure that sustainability in business bears fruit. Right from thinking out the sustainable procurement plan to strategizing the most efficient way to deliver the ready goods, the enterprise has to ensure that each involved representative of the function, even the suppliers, partake in the framework that, in the long run, contributes to driving sustainable value. SCM also needs to finalize a proper review structure that enables them to make necessary improvements as necessitated.
  • No Immediate Success: It is very essential to understand that investment in sustainability as a prospect won’t yield direct success. However, it does carry the potential of great payoff if backed in the longer run. If the leadership is okay with this fact, then it might see itself with the tag “environmentally friendly organizations” in due course of time.

Future of Sustainability in Business

With conferences across the globe and people’s consciousness well aligned with doing well and meaning well for the environment, it is safe to say that sustainability is the future that more organizations will embrace in the time to come. From the virtues of leaving minimum carbon emissions to insulating the supply chain against any potential risks, sustainability in business will be the headline act. Finding able support through technology and upskilling the workforce, eco norms will see their adoption at a much larger scale.

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