There is no doubt that the planet is under threat from climate change and global warming. This is why the COP26 conference, which is fast approaching, should serve as a wake-up call to the climate crisis the globe is facing and the need to fast-track and spearhead actions towards saving ourselves. Enterprises should focus on making their business models more sustainable by adopting best practices. The truth is that it takes one to move in the right direction, and that one can cause a ripple effect.
A good conscience aside, a sustainable business practice may also mean a successful business model. This is because commitment to sustainability has the potential to attract investors and customers, improving the reputation of the company, motivating the employees to give their best among other benefits that work to upgrade the overall brand image. According to a global consumer survey by Unilever, there is a 9$ trillion market opportunity for businesses that highlight their sustainability endeavours. Many CEOs now believe that sustainability is imperative for the success of their businesses, and are now introducing sustainability initiatives and strategies such as:
- Innovation around sustainable products and services
- Creating sustainability positions such as Chief Sustainability Officer
- Producing sustainability reports
Businesses can develop sustainable business practices that are in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by starting with the following:
- Making sustainability a core principle
This can be done through being part of the climate crisis solution.The business can also undergo training and educate themselves on what sustainability is all about.
Inorder to incorporate sustainable business practices, a company must change its business strategy and come up with those that steer the business towards greater sustainability e.g empowering board members and business leaders to focus on sustainability and drive execution as well as using the global sustainability goals to inform leadership development strategies.
- Be accountable and constantly improve
Many inspiring sustainable businesses are exceedingly transparent, with in-depth information available on their websites about where they source their products, how they manufacture, their labour practices, how sustainable their materials are, and areas they are working on to improve. Being transparent makes businesses more accountable and removes complacency. Being accountable ensures businesses are constantly striving to find new ways to decrease their footprint further and fosters more credibility with consumers.
- Embracing partnerships
Players in the private sector can partner with the public sector to ensure better sustainable practices. Key sector players should motivate and invite other sector players to activities and projects that align with the SDGs so as to inspire the overall sustainability agenda.
Other steps that companies can take to further drive the sustainability agenda include:
- Having a sustainability newsletter/sustainability section in the company’s newsletter
- Engaging in energy conservation practices
- Water conservation
- Employee engagement
- Reusing and recycling
- Having tree planting days
- Giving back to the community as part of corporate social responsibility
All businesses should adopt a sustainability plan as a guide for their business. A sustainability plan gives the tone and purpose of the existence of your business and also shows how sustainability is esteemed in your company. With a simple action plan, your business can measure, act, track and report the actions that the company is taking to make the world a safer, just and cleaner place.