A Model for Sustainability

What do you think of when you think about sustainability? Many think about all the green and environmental issues and initiatives we hear so much about. Many of these are worthy of support as they care for and use our natural resources wisely. Organizations of all sizes have made a conscious effort to look for ways to reduce their footprint.

That said, there is a much larger view of sustainability. It is one is that it is a business approach that creates long-term stakeholder value embracing opportunities and managing risks derived from process, environmental, social and economic developments. It is care-taking of processes, the planet and people and profits or profit margin.

Sustainability from an organizational perspective includes improvements and increases in productivity and/or reduction of resources used without compromising product or service quality, competitiveness, speed or profitability. This is an important fact. Sustainability, when applied as a business base strategy becomes a source of improved profitability, rather than an expense. It involves maximal efficiency and effectiveness. Sustainability simultaneously can improve profits. It involves gathering and aligning all the forces that you and your business can control; making sure they are pulling in the same direction and no little energy is lost forces working against each other. It also involves looking at processes and taking out the waste, only expending energy, time, and resources on those that will lead to the results that you and your company are looking for and those that will be sustainable.

When sustainability is strategically based, management driven, employee supported, and stakeholder/customer focused, it brings added value. Some of the benefits of applying a strategic focus of sustainability might include:

Increased brand recognition – brands that are leading the way in sustainability often receive additional recognition for their contribution to the community. A fully integrated sustainability model includes stakeholder loyalty as a key component.

More pricing power – consumers have been willing to pay a premium when they believe they are working with a company or organization that supports sustainable practices.

Greater operational efficiencies – these are a key to decreasing your internal energy waste be it in efficient use of people with polices and practices or efficient use of systems.

More efficient use of resources – the four r’s -reduce, reuse, recycle, recover are core practices of any sustainable organization. Through innovation and creativity, less is used and what is used is used over again internally or put back into the recovery chain.

Supply chain optimization – sustainable organizations can legitimately require their supply chain partners to improve their sustainability also. This supports transformation into the community.

Enhanced ability to enter new markets – Through the efficiencies gained, reuse and recycling efforts, fueled new innovation, new markets emerge.

Enhanced ability to attract, retain, and motivate businesse.co.uk– many employees are motivated to work for organizations with green and sustainable brands.