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Making A Business Case For Sustainable Development
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The rapidly growing world population and the pressure it is putting on the environment and natural resources, has raised many concerns. The apprehensions shared by the global community pertain to the question - how Sustainable will such a development be in the long term?
Of late, Sustainable Developments a topic that has been cropping up in a number of conversations the world over. The concept is not new and over the years has gained attention and importance in the numerous world summits. Sustainable Development is a complex term that involves numerous issues concerning environment as well social and economic changes, all of which are inter-related. Brundtland Commission (1987) captured the definition in a simple and concise manner: “Development that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
Sustainability in the context of businesses is an approach that aims to create long-term value for not just the consumers but also for the employees. This is done by creating a "green" strategy that focuses on the natural environment, while also taking into consideration all aspects of how a business operates in its social, cultural, and economic ecosystem.
The corporate mandate seems to be becoming clear - develop and execute strategies to build a company that fosters longevity through transparency and proper employee development. Increasingly companies are considering Sustainable Developments a key element of the way they do business. In many cases, sustainability is becoming the deal-breaker.
While Sustainability is not a new concept, even in context of the corporate or business houses, the word Sustainability has evolved from phrases that describe ethical corporate practices. One of the most common phrases is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). However, the difference lies in the fact that Sustainability in business context spans practices that are created keeping in mind the social and environmental considerations.
The push-back that is most often seen form the businesses is that they find it difficult to quantify the positive impacts of Sustainability. However, a well-developed business case for Sustainability– if executed properly – can actually result in increased revenue and reduced carbon footprint in terms of energy, waste, materials and water expenses. It can also result in increased employee productivity, while helping reduce hiring and attrition expenses. And that’s not all; it can help organizations reduce their strategic and operational business risks as well.
The increasing importance placed on Sustainable Development in the context of doing businesses well as the rapidly changing regulatory environment demand the business houses make the transition and implement innovative and creative ideas related to Sustainability. Upgrading to and implementing new technology throughout the organization is one way to do that. Implementing measures for recycling and reducing waste is another.
The discussion on the subject is far from over and the topic will continue to evolve. However, it certainly is a step in the right direction!
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