Sustainability in business: Why does it matter?

Published on 1 October 2023

Student, Femi David, offers some insight into sustainability in the world of business.

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Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

Sometimes we treat sustainability like that extra bit of icing on a scrumptious cake, but the truth is, sustainability is the cake itself. Think about it, what is icing without the cake underneath? Just a sad heap of icing! Similarly, in the business world, without a sustainable environment, the whole operation falls flat. Sustainability isn't the bonus, it's the essential foundation upon which a business thrives. Companies that fail to make sustainability a core part of their business model do so at their own detriment even though many companies still struggle with incorporating sustainability holistically into their organization’s DNA.

But what does sustainability in business truly entail? At its core, it's a philosophy rooted in meeting today's needs without jeopardising the future. In the context of business, it entails a commitment to long-term value creation over short-term gains. This commitment finds expression in environmental stewardship, social responsibility, economic stability, and sound governance.

The merits of a genuine dedication to sustainability are numerous and businesses can reap substantial cost savings by enhancing aspects like energy efficiency, waste reduction, and adopting sustainable sourcing practices. A focus on sustainability opens the door to new revenue streams, brings in top-tier talent, and attracts investment capital, as stakeholders increasingly favour responsible and ethical brands. Most importantly, the integration of sustainability into a business model bolsters resilience and ensures continued relevance in the face of future challenges.

With impending regulations, resource scarcity, the impacts of climate change, and shifting societal expectations, the business case for sustainability is stronger than ever. The shift towards a sustainable business model necessitates strategic planning and visionary leadership. Companies should conduct comprehensive audits to identify risks, inconsistencies, and assess the end-to-end impacts of their operations. Sustainability goals must be clearly defined, underpinned by data-driven decisions and collaboration across various departments is critical for effective execution.

From the supply chain to human resources to facilities management, sustainability must be intricately woven into every facet of an organisation. Compliance and reporting measures provide transparency and accountability, ensuring that sustainability commitments are met. Providing comprehensive training and fostering increased awareness about the significance of sustainability in business play pivotal roles in shaping and nurturing a corporate culture deeply rooted in sustainability.

The journey towards full integration demands ambition, discipline, and patience. However, businesses that wholeheartedly embrace sustainability today have indirectly positioned themselves to thrive tomorrow. They are proactively safeguarding their business, meeting stakeholder expectations, and contributing to the creation of a fairer and more resilient world.

The journey towards a sustainable business model is both an imperative and an opportunity. Embracing sustainability means not only securing the future but also unlocking new doors to growth, innovation, and purpose. The benefits are boundless, from cost savings to attracting top talent, securing a competitive edge, and to fulfilling social and environmental responsibilities. The time to campaign for sustainability is now, and the responsibility rests with all of us. Share this article and join the conversation by liking and adding your comments below. By working together, we can drive positive change and build a sustainable future. The time for action is now!

Written by Femi David, Student Blogger.

Originally published Oct 2023.

Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

Story category Student experience