Does Your Business Have a Sustainability Strategy?

The traditional role of business as purely a driver of economic value is eroding as companies recognize their impact on society.

Is Sustainability Free?

Maybe not in the short term, but in the long term the cost control of not “Doing it Right the First Time” could damage not only the environment, but also the long term viability of many companies.

Garbage is a Waste, Sustainability is a Smart Investment 

A number of the world’s blue chip companies are realizing that businesses can’t afford to ignore their impact on the environment and climate change if they plan for a long term future.

In 2014, Unilever’s CEO made headlines by publicly stating what others had privately acknowledged, “Most CEO’s, I’m convinced of now, know their companies cannot prosper in a world with runaway climate change,” he told the Global Landscapes Forum. “This is increasingly evident. They understand the need to work together with political leaders to address these challenges.” 

A Sustainability Strategy is much more than disposing of trash or the associated waste removal cost. Wasting raw materials is an obvious loss, but so is lost energy conversion and another alarming world concern - water. As a waste cost solution, sustainability reaches beyond just the supply chain to the full lifecycle of the value chain. 

How the Sustainability Landscape is Being Shaped

· Walmart’s sustainability goals are driving changes across the business ecosystem for advancements in green chemistry, fertilizers and supply chain transparency.

· Stakeholders expect companies to improve their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and they expect companies to set the pace for change.

· Investors increasingly recognize the importance of sustainability as a strategy for risk management and value creation.

· The Pope’s 2015 encyclical on climate change was not just a message to the faithful, but a harbinger of a broader shift taking place in terms of society’s expectations for business.

Employee stakeholder engagement is core to sustainability programs. To attract and retain top millennial talent, sustainability can be a key issue. Today there is general acceptance that companies are obligated to reduce their carbon footprint. But to ensure employee engagement, granular goals need to be set which individuals can impact.

Consumption is a starting point for sustainability but sourcing must also be considered. Although zero-to-landfill goals are fairly common, waste sent to incineration is typically not counted as a reduction unless there is energy being recovered in a responsible fashion. Water as a resource has largely been ignored in the US but California’s drought is changing that thinking. Leading companies are improving the efficiency of their HVAC systems and the water footprint of individual products; e.g. Unilever’s new dry shampoo.

To move the environmental considerations upstream, suppliers are increasingly asked to assume greater accountability for the company’s sustainability goals. With labor costs high, we live in a throw-away society rather that a fix-it culture. Designing for economic recycling can be a challenge. A number of large companies are collaborating their resources to develop the concept of a circular economy. The Closed Loop Fund includes companies like 3M, Coca-Cola and Unilever that aim to influence the market to increase capital investment and demand for recycled content.

It’s time for all companies to expand their view of waste management to include the wastage of all materials and resources, and put a sustainability strategy in place.

  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client
  • client