The following is an article “Sustainable Development’s Role in Business” by Marc Primo.
You might think that it should be the other way around. What does sustainable development owe entrepreneurship that it should have a role that can contribute to its profit? Aren’t corporate entities one of the main culprits why the earth’s resources are currently in peril? While these questions are debatable, many business leaders around the world have acknowledged the need to promote sustainable development in their operations or as part of their advocacies. As this year’s Global Goals Week concludes, it’s high time we push the message that taking care of the environment and prioritizing pressing social issues is definitely good for business.
Tackling global problems calls for a collaborative effort among various sectors of society. Today, more than 1 billion people still have no access to potable water, 40% of the oceans’ problems are man-made, and the global sea level rose to 7.4 inches since 1901 due to global warming. But contrary to popular belief, sustainability is not confined to environmental issues alone. There are many societal ills today that we don’t even think about like infant deaths in Africa, access to basic sanitation to many, and the fate of children in conflict-affected nations.
For businesses that want to make a difference and contribute to the world’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), here are a few reasons why you should.
You can save money. Simply practicing waste management programs in the office can save you a lot of money. Establish recycling activities for your bottles, paper, and even waste electrical equipment. If you have aluminum waste, each ton recycled can amount to 14,000 kilowatts of energy saved. Figuring out what to do with your recyclables and being energy and water efficient not only sends out a good message about your social advocacies, it saves and earns you money too.
You can appreciate your employees’ talents. It has been proven that practicing sustainability improves employee performance as it gives them more integrity and purpose. Try to develop a culture that contributes to good corporate citizenship and open up opportunities for volunteerism in the form of initiatives. Give your employees a day-off to participate in a coastal cleanup drive or visit and help out orphaned children. Giving them a chance to veer away from their everyday jobs and extend a helping hand will motivate them to do the right things, both in their personal lives and at work.
You can make your reputation stronger. In today’s business, millennials make up almost 50% of the global workforce. This is the generation that prefers to be associated and support companies that are actively taking a role in contributing to the SDG. A business’s genuine concern on the world’s biggest social issues and the correct mindset to do something about them are valuable assets that can impress today’s crop of young professionals. Most startups today are joining the many networks across the globe that devote their time and efforts contributing to social development. These social entrepreneurs experience a boost in their profits, with the support of a bigger community while getting good PR for their brands.
Big league companies have what it takes to assume responsibility and show great leadership. Sustainable development can do a lot for a company if only more businesses recognize the potential values to be gained. I suppose it all boils down to knowing that, more often than not, doing a good deed usually results in a win-win situation for all those concerned.