Sustainability is often considered to be an afterthought for businesses due to the financial goals of a firm taking precedent. It is true that a company needs to remain profitable, but evidence shows that companies can achieve both a favorable bottom line and commitment to a sustainable culture when integrated properly. How is this done? There are a few key actions that can help keep companies profitable with sustainability in mind:
Build sustainability into the company’s mission statement- If sustainability is built into the mission statement of a company, every employee should have this in the front of his or her mind each and every day. Job seekers should gain an understanding of the companies practices early. If the company is successful, this practice can help attract the type of talent needed to continue to support these initiatives.
Accumulate a team of sustainably minded individuals- Similar to adding sustainability into a mission statement and attracting individuals committed to sustainability, hiring and building a team dedicated to goals tackling sustainability will make achieving those goals much easier. Sustainability is not simply a goal, but a culture, which means everyone in the company should be committed to sustainability.
Create a sustainability department- Creating a sustainability department or adding a Director/Vice President of Sustainability can be instrumental in moving toward a more sustainable future. This act shows the company has taken steps to amplify their focus on going green and demonstrates a strong commitment within high levels of the organization.
Integration with financial goals- By integrating sustainable initiatives with financial performance, a company can easily highlight the ways it is benefitting the company and environment. While many stockholders and investors may only care about the financials, sustainable investing and green investing are growing movements. Evidence of investors, consumers, and regulatory bodies taking a greater interest demonstrates the importance of companies growing in their corporate social responsibility.
Sustainability should not have to be an initiative for companies to focus on in the future. Sustainability should be implemented across the business world now. Employees throughout the organization should be allowed the opportunity to work toward these practices and should be able to contribute to determining what a company’s sustainable goals will be. By having input from employees on sustainable goals, a company can help build a culture around sustainability and deepen how connected those employees are to the goals of the company.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to add sustainability to your next meeting agenda. Remember, if done properly, companies can remain profitable with sustainability set as a priority.