Ever since the Earth Summit in 1992, sustainability has been on the global agenda. This has been driven by a number of legislative and socio-economic pressures. At times it may seem that this is just another burden on business, but why not see being sustainable as an opportunity?
The list of environment- and sustainability-driven legislation is much too long to list! Hidden in the detail however, is a unique opportunity for business to grow, lower costs and gain a competitive advantage.
Resources cost money and this cost rises almost daily. In fact for most businesses, energy is their second highest controllable cost, after staff salaries. Sustainable practices not only achieve the legal compliance required but can also save money. This keeps both the legislators and the shareholders content.
Another sustainability benefit that is perhaps not immediately obvious lies within Corporate Social Responsibility. CSR should be much more than a PR exercise that helps reduce the tax bill. A sustainable approach can open up many avenues for a business to become more resilient, less wasteful and more ethical. At the same time, acting sustainably also means that the cost of CSR can be absorbed within activities that benefit the business just as much, if not more than, the wider community.
Ethics is not often seen as part of being sustainable, but – for me – doing something because it is the ‘right thing to do’ not only helps the leadership to sleep better but also makes for happy staff, suppliers and, most importantly, happy customers.
Being a sustainable business is not about ticking the boxes in terms of compliance; I believe it is a way to ensure the organisation has a long and prosperous future. The fact that you are saving the polar bears at the same time is almost incidental!
You can find out more about sustainable practices in business by visiting LCMB at the Facilities Show, 16-18 June 2015. To register please follow this link. I will be delivering a talk on this subject on the Wednesday of the show.