We may belong to different nationalities, but there is only one planet for us to live on. Hence taking care of it must be our primary concern. While we all may have noble intentions, that will not help save our planet. Instead, we need sustainable development goals. Going into 2023, businesses that are sustainability-oriented are likely to achieve more success when compared to their counterparts.
According to a report by the World Economic Forum, businesses that can highlight their sustainability have a $10 trillion market opportunity. Similarly, a Canadian sustainability-focused financial information company, Corporate Knights, brought out a report named Global 100. They reported that the 7000 public companies that have reduced their carbon emissions are also the ones to generate over $1 billion in annual revenue. Hence, this article will study sustainable businesses and how to grow one in 2023.
What Is a Sustainable Business
Some of the most powerful world leaders met in 2015 at the United Nations. They agreed on 17 goals to help create a better world by 2030. These goals include fighting inequality, eradicating poverty, and ending climate change. Therefore, any business that can ensure its supply chain supports environmental goals like life on land, life below water, and climate action can be considered sustainable. To start with, they must create a sustainability model along with sustainable development goals that are in tune with those of the UN. They can start by showing responsibility towards their consumption and production.
How to Create a Sustainable Business In 2023
According to the ‘Better Leadership, Better World’ report by Unilever, in order to grow a sustainable business in accordance with the UN’s Global Goals, there are a few key leadership parameters. Here are some of them:
Understand the Need
If you are lobbying for internal support in large organizations, you need to create some metrics that resonate with the internal stakeholders. For example, how can you empower them personally to improve the business’s sustainability?
- Operations – You can show them how steps towards sustainability can help reduce costs and increase efficiency.
- Procurement – You can assure them that sustainability initiatives can reduce the risks of supply disruptions.
- Human resources – You can tell them how sustainability initiatives can help attract and retain talent.
- Marketing and corporate affairs – You can make them realize that sustainability efforts can bring value to the brand.
Rebuild Social Trust
There has been a massive shortage of trustworthiness ever since the collapse of the global economy in 2008. Hence, business leaders must make it a point to gain the trust of their consumers and employees and the communities in which they operate. Businesses also need to repair their operating licenses. They need to partner with governments, civil society, workers, and customers to contribute positively to the community. Communicating openly about their sustainability commitments to society can help in rebuilding societal trust.
Sustainability Should Be a Principle
There are three approaches when it comes to adopting sustainability into any existing business – assimilation, mobilization, and transition. Transition is considered the most successful when it comes to long-term integration. Businesses adopting this approach continue to confirm the elements of the current company mindset. However, they also focus on reshaping the policies, processes, and attitudes favoring sustainability principles. Most businesses achieve it through widespread recruitment and communication to ensure mainstream adoption.
If you are looking to create a sustainable business in 2023, you must conduct substantial research. Companies that go after the trending eco-friendly strategies of the time only have a superficial interest. They use it as part of their marketing strategy to gain consumers and brand equity. However, such activities can only pay lip service to the concept of sustainability.
In comparison, businesses must look to adopt a well-meant sustainability approach. Instead of blanketing sustainability concepts, businesses must address specific issues. And to do that, a company needs to be sized about the topics they prioritize in their organization. This can help them design a strategy targeting each of those issues specifically.
Businesses also need to change their strategies to become sustainable. They need to innovate if they are looking to adjust their business with greater sustainability goals. It must include the following:
- Empowering business leaders and board members to work towards achieving sustainability.
- Planning and developing products and services in a strategic manner to produce sustainable outcomes.
- Marketing such products and services that evoke sustainable choices from the consumers.
- Incorporating sustainable development goals into leadership development strategies.
Build Diverse Leadership
Going into 2023, one must take the help of sustainable development goals (SDGs) to develop a sustainable business. These goals can also help reach greater sustainability. They are not just focused on the environment but also include fair wages, greater equality, and investment in diversity. Diversity becomes crucial for strategy and implementation as it has the capacity to influence people to consider various perspectives and develop complex solutions to issues. This is something that can be beneficial when you are attempting to introduce something as nascent as sustainability projects into your business.
Develop Long Term Goals
Sustainability must not be taken as a token response to keep your customers happy. To develop a sustainable business in 2023, you must set well-researched and achievable targets. From expanding the education opportunities inside and outside your organization to contributing to feeding schemes, you must initiate sustainability efforts that traverse throughout the supply chain.
To achieve sustainability, you must also aim for transparency within an organization. And transparency comes from accountability. This helps in driving change and improving results, which are the main keys to rolling out corporate sustainability programs in a successful manner.
Accept Your Competition
If one of the key players within a sector starts focusing on sustainability, it motivates others to follow suit. Only among sustainable businesses can you find this type of competition. This is not just because of the positive impact on the environment but also because it persuades them to continue with sustainable innovations. Some leaders can also look for like-minded competitors and nonprofits and collaborate with them to drive innovation.
Several international corporate giants have established long-term sustainable development goals. Apple has committed to achieving 100% carbon neutrality by 2030. Salesforce has already achieved net-zero greenhouse gas emissions globally and plans on delivering a carbon-neutral cloud. Even smaller companies and individuals are doing their part as well. Everyone has a role to play, from recycling waste to choosing tap water over plastic bottles to utilizing natural light in the workplace. While much has already been achieved, we need to question ourselves what else is there to be attained in terms of sustainability? Businesses have the power to bring positive change and impact society. Hence until we make interplanetary colonization possible, creating sustainable businesses is the only way to help, repair and protect our world.
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