Sustainability to the fore

To do, or not to do; where sustainability is concerned, it shouldn’t even be a question for India Inc.

Of the world’s 100 largest economic entities, 71 are corporations, underlining just how important companies can be when it comes to giving back to the world. With this great power comes a great deal of expectations. Governments alone aren’t going to tackle the biggest challenges facing our planet, this can only be done in tandem with robust, thriving institutions. Being sustainable is more than just an essential part to corporate responsibility, it’s possibly essential to global survival.

Unfortunately, short-term planning is endemic to corporate strategy, making it all too easy to miss out on sustainability, which can be a critical success factor. The reality is that our current business and economic environment is a dynamic one, always in flux, and making the most of limited resources necessitates the development of a clear, artful sustainability strategy. But to be sustainable means more than just going green; true sustainability has a much greater scope because it factors in multiple dimensions: socio-cultural, economic, and of course, the natural environment.

More than just a PR stunt or a green product line, sustainability ensures a business can thrive in the long-term. Imagined and implemented fully, sustainability drives a bottom-line strategy to save costs, a top-line strategy to reach a new consumer base, and a talent strategy to get, keep, and develop creative employees. Let’s delve a bit deeper into this.

Attracting Top Talent

A large section of today’s most talented up-and-coming leaders seek a workplace culture that helps them create value for business and the communities around them. By embedding CSR and sustainability into business objectives, institutions demonstrates that they are driven by a greater purpose, drawing in the crème de le crème of up-and-coming talent.

Creating a Community Connect

Businesses cannot operate in a bubble oblivious to the community that enables them. It is thus prudent to create a long-term strategy and legacy in order to safeguard the future of society and the business itself.

Efficiency and Profitability

Being a responsible corporate citizen and maintaining a healthy bottom line need not run contrary to each other. Embedding sustainability into your business model can create shareholder value by limiting waste of natural resources such as energy and water, growth opportunities through developing innovative products, better risk management and increased brand reputation with your customers and employees. This creates a win-win situation for all.

Responsibly Innovative

Being competitive in a cut-throat marketplace means making innovation a top priority, and one way of doing this is to offer eco-friendly products and services to discerning audiences. Innovation need not be measured purely in monetary terms, it can also provide value beyond numbers. Understanding and resolving broader societal issues can help move the needle forward while delivering growth and value to stakeholders.

However, these changes are not going to happen overnight. It needs a thoughtful strategy and total commitment to making sustainability an intrinsic part of business. No matter your industry, performance must be correlated to the environment and society it operates in, for only then will we be able to create a better world for us all.


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