According to the World Council for Economic Development (WCED), sustainable development is the development that: “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This is why we have to create a perfect mix of three fundamental variables, the PPP: People, Profit and Planet.
According to the FT, there are many practices to foster the sustainable business. I completely agree with them, which are:
• Stakeholder engagement: Organisations can learn from customers, employees and their surrounding community. Engagement is not only about pushing out messages, but also understanding opposition, finding common ground and involving stakeholders in joint decision-making;
• Environmental management systems: These systems provide the structures and processes that help embed environmental efficiency into a firm’s culture and mitigate risks. The most widely recognized standard worldwide is ISO 14001, but numerous other industry-specific and country-specific standards exist;
• Reporting and disclosure: Measurement and control are at the heart of instituting sustainable practices. Not only can organisations collect and collate the information, they can also be entirely transparent with outsiders. The Global Reporting Initiative is one of many examples of well-recognised reporting standards;
• Life cycle analysis: Those organisations wanting to take a large leap forward should systematically analyse the environmental and social impact of the products they use and produce through life cycle analysis, which measure more accurately impacts.
All these examples seem unrelated, but they are not!
The majority of these practices create link between two out of our three variables.
The People – Planet bound is the strongest one, but we have to involve the Profit in it. If we want to have a functional sustainable business, we have to foster ourselves and think. Now more than ever.
It is never too late to have an idea that could change the way we see the world, forever.
To think about the sustainability, companies need to be rigorous, goal-oriented, and accountable.
Sustainability must become the core business of every company. This is the only way to accomplish our goal.
Starting from the major firms, they should lead by example for the ones who are still skeptical about the role of the sustainable business. This model is possible and, looking to the long period, it will be our only way to make a profit because we are working with a limited amount of resources. The investment in research and development are decreasing and this is happening because the actual model of business is wrong; it is based on variables from 19th century, definitely too old to be applied to our period.
This is why we have to change our way to make business.
It is not a purely ethical question. This is about changing the current economic situation, reverse the negative trend and to ensure a better future for our successors.
Sustainability has a great impact on Society, expecially on consumers. They are more triggered to buy products from companies that demonstrate consciousness about environment and empathy about the working conditions of its employees; companies that invest part of their funds in research and development; companies in which the people come first, instead of the profit.
This impact on the customers is explained
by the concept of sympathy of Adam
Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759).
Sympathy is “the effect that is produced when we imagine that another person’s circumstances are our own circumstances, and find their reaction to the circumstances to be reasonable. In so doing, we respond by experiencing a smaller-scale version of their feelings, even though we do not share the circumstances that incited their reponse.”
In other words, if we act well, the others will see us as a good people and we will gain respect and love. This is what happen when, in an even smaller scale, we buy something “ethical” and we want the others to know it.
The customers are becoming more and more intelligent and conscious about what to buy. Their choices are no more randomly and even the smaller detail can do the difference.
Any company could gain advantage from a background like this, without mentioning the savings in long-term money. The R & D investments bring added value to the companies and, these one, will be turned in a higher profit, a greater competitive advantage and a small step for the economic / environmental salvation of the world.
We still have the power to do something. Act together!