People often think only about multi corporations and Fortune 500 companies when sustainability comes up. That's so far from the truth. In today's world, businesses of all sizes have to create a sustainable future through their actions.
On this side of the world, sustainability isn't much thought of in businesses but driving greater sustainability is critical for Africa's growth hopes.
Sustainability in business
Sustainability in business is simply how a business impacts the environment or society. Companies develop a sustainability strategy to have this impact. Companies like Apple, Google, Meta, and Uber have sustainability strategies.
Take Apple, for instance; the company's sustainability goal is to lessen the effect of climate change. To achieve that goal, Apple is investing in some fantastic ideas for Carbon removal. For production, Apple wants to use clean energy across its supply chain and aims to reach net-zero carbon emission by 2030.
It doesn't have to be about climate like Apple; businesses can focus on several other global issues for their sustainability strategies.
Like income inequality, human rights issues, fair working conditions, pollution, racial injustice, and gender inequality. As a business, it's essential to show concern about issues affecting your environment and communities and act on those concerns.
Businesses often focus on financial profitability. How do we make more money, sell more products, and get more customers? While these are also pertinent questions in businesses, having a sustainability strategy is of more importance.
This is why the Triple Bottom Line theory was created; to reflect the importance of sustainability in business. The Triple Bottom Line is a business concept that asserts companies commit to measuring their social and environmental impact. It is broken down into three profits, people and the planet. The final component of the Triple Bottom Line concept is the one that talks about sustainability.
Why is sustainability in business important? We look at five reasons.
1. Improves brand image
One consistent head-scratcher across businesses is how to market products. It is expensive to get your products into people's minds, but with a good sustainability strategy, companies can get a good brand image with much ease.
Showing concerns and taking action on some of the issues plaguing the environment and society gives businesses a good brand image, which attracts customers and investors.
2. Helps drive change
Our environment and society keep getting better because people advocate for good causes which drive changes. From climate activists to feminists, human rights activists, etc., most changes for good in our environment and society happened because people called attention to it.
When businesses actively pursue sustainability goals, it helps drive change in that cause.
3. Attract customers
Many businesses ignore sustainability because they are focused on their bottom line. Many, however, have not realised that having sustainability in businesses can help attract new customers and increase net income. Many people care about environmental and social issues and expect the producers of the products they use to do as well. When that happens, these customers are happy; a happy customer is a loyal customer.
Some people will patronise your business as new customers because it meets their sustainability expectations.
4. Motivates employees
Like your customers, sustainability in business can also motivate your employees. Several studies show that employees are more motivated when employers adopt sustainability practices. Making people believe that they are part of something bigger than themselves often helps. That is what sustainability in business does.
5. Strengthens partnership with regulations
Governments worldwide are now concerned about climate change, dwindling energy resources, poverty, etc., enacting regulations to protect the environment. Adopting sustainable practices as a business will position you as a partner, which comes with huge benefits like tax waivers, easy access to permits etc.