Creating a sustainable company creates more resilience and ultimately better value for the business, employees, investors, and customers. In response to the pandemic, companies need to rethink the way they do business. They have to rebuild and find ways that they can become more sustainable to be capable of weathering future problems.
UN Sustainable Development Goals
The goal is for more companies to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development goals by 2030. Meeting those goals could help to prevent the same type of economic turmoil that was felt because of COVID-19. Of course, the goals go beyond just business goals. They are meant to help society as a whole and can serve as guidelines for all manner of businesses.
The sustainable development goals from the UN cover 17 areas. This includes:
- No poverty
- Zero hunger
- Good health and wellbeing
- Quality education
- Gender equality
- Clean water and sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Decent work and economic growth
- Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
- Reduced inequalities
- Sustainable cities and communities
- Responsible consumption and production
- Climate action
- Life below water
- Life on land
- Peace, justice, and strong institutions
- Partnerships for the goals
More stakeholders today are interested in seeing businesses rise and meet this challenge. Those that fail to do so will find that it will become more and more difficult to stay relevant and continue operating successfully. Striving to achieve these goals can help with improving trust in a company’s brand, providing supply chain resilience, and offering a competitive advantage.
Businesses today need to look at each of the goals and find ways that their company might be able to make a difference. What types of business practices can they adopt that would help to reach those goals, at least in their own organization? With more and more companies taking steps to make changes internally and externally, it can bring the world closer to the vision outlined in the plan put forth by the UN.
Value from Sustainability Goals
More and more companies are starting to realize the benefits that can be had by choosing to follow sustainable practices. Over the past several years, we’ve seen that companies that have better ratings when it comes to things like social awareness and environmental concerns are outperforming their competitors.
This is because consumers and clients are more aware today when they are making decisions. They want to buy from companies that are engaging in better business practices.
Companies that revisit their manufacturing and waste practices may find better options that will reduce their carbon footprint, for example. Other companies might look at their hiring practices and realize that they are not bringing aboard as many diverse employees as they should be. Bringing on new, diverse talent can help to bring aboard new ideas and create a more welcoming and inclusive business. Businesses may want to look at their advertising practices to see how inclusive they are, as well.
All of these elements are becoming important to consumers. When faced with two companies that offer similar products and services, consumers are more likely to buy from those that have sustainable practices, and who make those practices are visible. Data shows that companies that are more cognizant and responsive to these issues tend to do better financially.
Of course, there are also the overarching benefits that come from sustainability. The more companies around the world that are trying to meet these goals, the better. It will help to provide a better world for everyone’s future.
All Businesses Should Be Involved
Naturally, different businesses will have a different impact based on their field and what they are capable of doing to reach these goals. No matter the industry or the size of the business, though, all companies can play a role in becoming more sustainable.
The only way for the UN goals to be reached is by getting as many companies on board and working toward sustainability as possible. One of the best ways for industries to meet their goals is to follow a few simple and effective pathways.
Utilize Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) Data
Using real-time ESG data can help to provide you with greater insight into how your business is operating. An ESG score works as a social credit score for corporations and is a good indicator of where problems might lie in your business.
The data can show you where there might be environmental concerns within your company, for example. You can look for ways that your company can engage in better, more sustainable practices, helping to achieve goals on the UN’s list, such as taking climate action and using affordable and clean energy.
Your business can improve socially, as well by providing more diversity in the workplace, being more inclusive, working to protect consumers, etc. Improving relations with the employees and providing living wages helps to achieve the UN sustainability goals, as well.
All companies are different, but every business can find ways, no matter how small they might seem, that can make a difference.
Provide New Skills to the Workforce
The world is changing, and this means that the skills needed to meet the workforce challenges need to be provided for your employees. You should strive to build up the workforce skills among your team members. Proper training and updated training that incorporates all of the new sustainable practices you are following is essential.
Invest in the Right Technology and Innovations
Today, many new pieces of technology can be integrated into businesses. These innovations are often used as a means to help provide better internal practices that can reduce the waste of resources and create a more efficient and productive workplace. The right types of technology can help to fuel economic recovery, and it can make societal impacts on the environment, employees, consumers, and more.
Make the Changes the World Needs to See
Sustainable value is created through responsible business practices. Becoming more sustainable as a business provides your company with greater resilience. By engaging in these practices, it will help to provide a better and more sustainable future for everyone, not just your business.