In recent months, the concept of Corporate Sustainability has moved from the fringes to the mainstream.
Long gone are the days where companies, both large and small, did not know what the concept of Corporate Sustainability meant or did not understand its value. Having said this, there are still a considerable number of enterprises which have not yet moved from awareness to action.
If as a business owner or manager you have not yet initiated your corporate sustainability programme, below are the five main reasons why you need to start right now!
1. The green economy
A green economy is defined as ‘low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. In a green economy, growth in employment and income are driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.’
Thus, the term ‘green’ does not only relate to environmental considerations, but it also takes into account the social dimensions, not to mention the tenets of good governance. The green economy is the kind of economy that is being built with the use of all the instruments allocated to post-COVID recovery – meaning that going forward, the green economy will be the ‘only’ economy, and unless you fit in, you will be pushed out!
2. Consumer trends
As time goes by, and as the (in)famous millennials gain more purchasing power, consumer trends are shifting. People are gravitating towards brands which help create a positive impact on the world and have no qualms about ‘boycotting’ brands which are associated with unethical practices or which harm people or planet in any way. This is a trend which is set to grow even further.
Therefore, those businesses which want to stay in the market, and not only attract more clients but retain their existing ones, need to do some soul-searching and align themselves accordingly. While price does seem to remain the primary motivator for buyers, consumers will shift towards sustainable brands if the price is similar – giving sustainable businesses a clear competitive advantage.
When business shift their focus from ‘shareholder value’ to ‘stakeholder value’ they will be forced to think out of the box and come up with new products or services, or new processes or ways of doing business – this is the kind of innovation which is direly needed to re-generate our economy and to make our enterprises more cutting-edge and competitive, not only in the local scenario but also in a larger, fast-evolving world. Couple that with the integration of technological advances, and you’re on to a winning formula!
Besides the obvious business benefits brought about by corporate sustainability, there is an ever-growing body of regulation pertaining to the different aspects of sustainability that businesses, both large and small, have to abide by. And we all know that the cost of non-compliance can be substantial, not to mention the reputational fall-out.
5. Funding & support
Malta Enterprise and Business First have recently launched a number of schemes which greatly assist enterprises in their transition towards a more sustainable business model. This means that the return on investment on sustainability programmes has just gone up a notch… but the schemes won’t go on forever, so it makes sense to tap into this great opportunity once we’re still in time. Corporate sustainability is a win-win approach – it can help our country (and the world!) develop in a manner which takes people and planet into account, and bring about solutions to current societal challenges – but it also brings tangible benefits to those enterprises which implement it properly. I am excited to accompany more businesses in their sustainability journey in the coming months, and to be part of this shift which will hopefully bring about the positive change we desperately need!
Dr. Roberta Lepre
Managing Director & Lead Consultant
WEAVE CONSULTING – the ESG Specialists
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