·ALWAYS REDEFINING SUSTAINABILITY·
Sustainability is a frequently used concept, although often not very well known and misinterpreted. In the business world, sustainability has been equated with philanthropy, with observing the law, with business ethics or with environmental protection.
However, sustainability goes far beyond legal, fiscal or labour duties. Really leading companies reach further than the letter of the law, because they wish to meet the needs of the most demanding stakeholders and stand out from their competitors.
A sustainable business is able to guarantee its survival in time and meet the needs and expectances of every stakeholder. In addition, it does not jeopardise the current or future needs of society.
Companies have been adapting to new market needs, and they have voluntarily included changes in their production systems, their risk management or their relations with stakeholders. Nevertheless, most of those initiatives are not really implemented with an integral approach based on scientific facts.
Sustainability, as a process, must be included in the company’s overall strategy and decision-making. It involves every step in the value chain, from suppliers to consumers.
Sustainability is not only about the environment. Sustainability includes the social, the environmental and the economic dimension. However, companies need to also take the corporate dimension into account if they wish to really achieve it.
Sustainability is nowadays a key quality for any company to be competitive and create value.
Consumers, employees, shareholders and society as a whole increasingly award or punish companies and trademarks regarding their practices. The kind of product and its revenue are not the only thing that matters anymore. Now it is also relevant to know how it is produced and what the profit is invested in.
76% of executives state that integrating sustainability principles adds long-term value for shareholders, and 50% of them receive also short-term value.(Mc Kinsey 2010)
Increasing the number of women in a company’s senior management can entail a 15% increase in the likelihood of obtaining higher financial profits.(Mc Kinsey 2015)
58% of Millennials are not prone to working in industries with a bad reputation and 56% expect companies to meet their expectations about sustainability management.(PwC 2016)
Investing in sustainability along the supply chain increases operating profits by 10%/12%.(NBS 2011)
Sustainability management involves new challenges for any business, such as increasing transparency and accountability, creating new quantitative indicators and adapting internal information systems in order to obtain results in an efficient, periodic and systematic way, while also meeting the needs of every stakeholder.
However, there are relevant strategic advantages to including sustainability in a business centre.