Sustainability - once a business differentiator and nice to have is now critical to business strategy and long-term success. It’s essential for corporate survival.
The winds of change were blowing well before COVID-19, with increasing stakeholder focus on ESG (environmental, social and governance) measures demanding the attention of business leaders, but the pandemic has blown those doors wide open. What we have experienced over the past 18 months – at an individual level, business level and societal level – is a wholesale shift and reappraisal of purpose.
In short, as stakeholders, we now all expect more.
It’s clear that employees want more than just a pay cheque; they want to work for organisations that align with their purpose and value-set. The pandemic has changed the way we work, the way employees want to work in the future and with it, the expectations they have of leadership to allow ongoing, flexible work patterns and more inclusive workplaces. Investors want more than a financial return, and society as a whole is aware – now more than ever – of the need to manage and look after our natural resources responsibly (an IBM study from last year found 80% of consumers indicate sustainability is important to them and 60% are willing to change their habits to reduce environmental impact). Governments, keen to stimulate economic recovery, are both acutely aware of this new paradigm and the key role business and manufacturing can play to strengthen economies and communities for long-term, sustainable growth.
It’s my strong view that the purpose of business is not to serve one stakeholder or set of stakeholders at the cost of others, but to provide a sustainable future for all stakeholders. As business leaders, it is our job to create an environment where 360-degree sustainability can take hold and flourish to benefit all.
A successful, well-run business – with sustainability at its core - provides careers and fulfilment to its people. A sustainable business provides consistent and quality products and services to its customers. This provides sustainable returns to investors and shareholders, along with confidence to suppliers. A good business is run in such a way that it’s sustainable to the environment, the planet, and the resources it uses.
Read the full piece which was originally published on my LinkedIn profile: Sustainability benefits all