Sustainable business …what does that mean?
A sustainable business is one that endures. It has a business model that can continue into the future. It mitigates today’s risks of climate change and globalization. The company is very aware of the power of its brand so it invests in the communities’ in which it operates. It protects the environment through its supply chain and saves expenses by making investments into greening its operations. These companies understand that their employees want more than a nine to five job; they want to make a difference. In order to attract and retain great employees, they practice value based and ethical marketing. These companies go beyond the legal requirements of operations. They go beyond industry standards. They do what is right. There are so many tenets to sustainability that it is difficult to respectfully explain them in one blog entry so this one will be a series. This first blog will introduce the concept. The next ones will go into each area in more depth.
So what is the conceptual definition of a sustainable business? There are four tenets to sustainability:
1. Concern and commitment to protect the environment.
2. Understand the environmental implications of our resource usage and choices.
3. Demand corporate accountability to the values of justice, openness, financial performance and mutual respect.
4. Protect human rights and human security.
The challenge that we face in business is how do implement sustainability and still respect economic realities, cultural differences, geographical variations and the constant tensions between social change and climate change. We are in a world of transformation. What are the best practices?
Dr Wayne Visser has put together a short book that outlines his search for best practices in sustainable business. It is an enlightening and hopeful book. We need hope. We need role models. Dr Wayne Visser gives us both.