Creating long-term value in the ecological, social, and economic environment
“Although the challenge of environmental sustainability can be overwhelming, companies that develop stellar sustainability practices now will be more resilient in the future.”
As the expectations on corporate responsibility increase, and as transparency becomes more prevalent, companies in Cyprus are recognising the need to act on sustainability. Businesses are evolving from knowing to doing, and from compliance to competitive advantage, developing forward-thinking sustainability policies to address the current challenges.
Sustainability has grown in popularity as a catch-all term for green business practices that have been incorporated into many corporate strategies. Consumers are becoming more educated, and they are looking for businesses that share their values. Sustainability unquestionably falls under the purview of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which refers to business practices that promote fairness and assistance in the communities and countries in which they operate. Diversity in hiring and promoting employees, selecting vendors and suppliers, and supporting and establishing philanthropic initiatives helps employees become healthier and reduces a company’s environmental impact.
Sustainability needs to be incorporated into any organisation’s corporate strategies and reflected in its business objectives. This entails prioritising it in all aspects of organisational operations. Assigning accountability as part of a business initiative is critical for any successful strategy because it allows companies to track the progress and results of their employees.
Every aspect of an organisation revolves around its people. People are at the heart of every business. Investing time in educating employees about the importance of environmental sustainability and sharing what the organisation is doing to conserve resources is key to company longevity.
Aside from the obvious reasons on how water and energy-efficient conservation practices, in-house recycling programmes, and switching to the use of green products help reduce the carbon footprint, businesses in Cyprus are paying attention to their customers’ preferences for dealing with environmentally friendly, sustainable businesses. Although the challenge of environmental sustainability can be overwhelming, companies that develop stellar sustainability practices now will be more resilient in the future.
Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability
A strong sustainability approach in an age of climate change emergency supports long-term economic growth without negatively impacting social, environmental, and cultural aspects of the community. Businesses need to have an internal structure that includes clear, thorough processes and structures into their foundation. These internal processes are critical for defining accountability and the direction or focus of each employee’s work. Employees of all levels can gain a better understanding of the impact and reasons for their work with a clear structure. This structural foundation aids in the setting of priorities and the streamlining of decision making at all levels of the organisation, promoting steady and purposeful growth in a business.
A culture of transparency and honest communication, in conjunction with an internal reporting structure, is equally important to the resilience of a business, particularly a large or global business. To be successful and build brand trustworthiness, organisations must demonstrate not only their commitment to society, but also their good behaviour, particularly towards the environment, their authenticity, and their willingness to share all their practices and procedures publicly.
According to the Stanford Social Innovation review – Informing and inspiring leaders of social change, survey results estimate that more than 90 per cent of CEOs believe that sustainability is an important factor for a company’s success and there is a necessity to have a clear sustainability strategy. Simply put, “the future of business enterprise is rooted in a sustainable business model; one that creates long-term value and generates profit, while improving societal and environmental conditions.”
Customers, consumers, and investors are now putting pressure on businesses to think about the environmental and social impact of their products, services, and operations. Governments are following suit, with global environmental regulations increasing twentyfold over the last two decades.
“Sustainable business is imperative, however companies that view it through a compliance mindset only may be overlooking opportunities for innovation and new revenue sources,” explains Claudia Pardo, Ned Calder, Kristen Colella, partners at Innosight – Innovation Consulting Firm. “In order to leverage sustainability for growth, business leaders should examine how they connect their corporate strategy and sustainability, the way they integrate their customers’ motivations, the design of organisational enabling structures and processes, and the capabilities and mindset lived across the company.” Getting this right can ensure one is positioned to lead a sustainable and future-fit organisation.