Global organizations recognize the importance of incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations in planning for core businesses. With increasing opportunities arising from trends in global sustainability, companies and their leaders are embracing sustainable development to respond to environmental and social issues that affect the way they operate.
A recent McKinsey study shows that 36% of organizations and their Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) consider sustainability one of their top three priorities, with 13% setting sustainability as their top priority, a significant increase from 5% the year before. According to Accenture’s 2013 report on how CEOs view sustainability, business leaders across the globe recognize sustainability as a driver for growth and innovation. 93% of CEOs surveyed regard sustainability as the key to the success of their company.
While consensus about the importance of sustainability is becoming universal, the challenge for businesses is to effectively align their business objectives with their ESG objectives as they work towards a sustainable, low-carbon future.
4 Pillars for Sustainable Business
A GreenBiz article lists four principles that companies can adopt to ensure their business is sustainable:
1. Establish a clear sustainability objective
Corporate sustainability is an achievable goal if organizations include sustainability in their corporate agenda. Companies need to consider four primary factors when developing a sustainability plan: management infrastructure, eco-efficiency programs, strategic initiatives and marketing programs.
2. Appoint a sustainability leader
Strategically employing someone who has the right credentials, capabilities and background to spearhead a company’s sustainability efforts is a sensible move for organizations. Titles may range from Chief Sustainability Officer to Sustainability Director or Analyst. Fortune 500 companies have opened such positions to ensure their sustainability goals are met.
3. Encourage employee engagement on sustainability activities
Corporate sustainability starts from within the four walls of the organization, relying on employees and key team members adopting the behaviors necessary to attain sustainability goals. Factors such as workplace culture, human resources and financial incentives must be considered to engage employees and encourage them to participate in the efforts and programs of the organization.
4. Map out efficient sustainability plans
Although planning sustainability practices is a complex matter, companies must take the time to map out the details. Global issues such as climate change, social injustice, energy independence and water scarcity are some of the areas businesses need to evaluate in their sustainability efforts.
FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) helps organizations recognize business drivers for sustainability practices and offers cost-effective sustainability management solutions. FCS provides guidance on industry best practices and can help you with your sustainability programs. For more information on other sustainability solutions, read this article from our monthly newsletter, GreenWatch.