The process of establishing and growing sustainability in businesses is beneficial for many reasons, the most important being that we live, play, and work all on the same planet and we have to ensure that it is taken care of to the benefit of everyone. While keeping good conscience aside from sustainability, a sustainable research model for business can also be a viable business model.
Raymond Ackerman, the founder of the retail company Pick n Pay, is famous for his declaration, “Doing good, is good business.”1 Ackerman used a sustainable business model to fight the human rights violations in Apartheid-era South Africa, by investing in employees with a wide demographic profile, funding further studies, and instilling a spirit of community entrepreneurs. Ackerman has grown his four retail stores to become a highly successful multinational company by this method. The former South African president and Nobel prize winner Nelson Mandela said of the Ackermans, “Raymond and Wendy are among the leaders of the good men and women who believe they must plow whatever resources are available to them to create the community that was neglected for more than three centuries.”
According to a recent World Economic Forum report, there is a $10 trillion market opportunity for businesses that highlight their sustainability endeavors.3 Similarly, the Global 100 is a report by Canadian sustainability-focused financial information company, Corporate Knights, that ranks large enterprises worldwide based on their ability to reduce carbon and waste. The 7,000 public businesses that excel in this area also earn over 1 billion dollars in annual revenue. It’s easy to see why sustainability investing is becoming more popular for business leaders.
NMI conducted a survey of 546 professionals across 65 countries to gain a better understanding of the impact of sustainability on our future. The findings of the report show that the top priorities for Sustainable Research Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure a sustainable future include:
- Goal 4 A quality education
- Goal 12: Responsible production and consumption
- Goal 13 Action on climate change
Sustainability is not just a matter of established businesses. There are many first-time entrepreneurs who are constructing their businesses that focus on environmental protection and services have increased. This has led to a rise in promising startups that concentrate on durable, sustainable products and materials. In the next decade, investments in green business start-ups are predicted to increase to $3.4 trillion.
What is a sustainable Research company?
Global leaders in 2015 at the United Nations (UN) agreed on 17 goals to bring about a better world by 2030. The goals are focused on eliminating poverty, fighting inequality, and halting the effects of climate change.
A sustainable company that wishes to align its sustainability plan for business and its goals to be aligned with the UN’s objectives could begin with sustainable use and manufacturing. To achieve this, they will be required to ensure they have a supply chain that has environmental goals like climate action, and life beneath the water and on the land.
Organizations should also consider their personnel and management structures to ensure gender equality and reduce inequalities. They can also assess their local communities to determine what they can do to help towards the goal of health and well-being, high-quality education and clean water, sanitation, and clean as well as sustainable communities and cities. All of these objectives combine to make an impactful change.
The most efficient model for sustainability is the sustainability model.
Based on Unilever’s “Better Leadership Better World, Better Leadership” report there are some important leadership initiatives that are crucial to building a sustainable research company in conformity with the United Nations’ World Goals.7 Below are ideas for making your company more environmentally sustainable.
- Be aware of the need. In order to advocate internally for support for sustainability initiatives within large organizations, the teams responsible for supporting the cause should develop and monitor metrics that align with the internal stakeholders’ goals, i.e. what they personally can be empowered to increase sustainability within the workplace. Here are a few steps that can be implemented by specific business units:
- Operations units: Help them to understand how efforts for sustainability can improve efficiency or cut costs
- Teams for sourcing or procurement: ensure these teams the sustainability efforts will improve efficiency, decrease costs, or decrease the risk of disruptions to supply
- Human resources: Show HR the ways sustainability efforts can assist in attracting and keeping talent
- Teams for corporate affairs and marketing assist them in understanding how sustainability initiatives can add value to the brand, or enhance the license to operate
- Repair social trust. Since the 2008 crisis in the world economy business trust has been scarce. Business leaders must put forth an effort in concert to restore trust in society as well as the trust of their employees, customers as well as communities in the areas they operate. They must also repair their operating license. Working with customers, government workers, customers, and civil society and contributing positively to the community, and then communicating openly about their long-term relationships with the public, will ensure long-term success in rebuilding the confidence in the business by the community.
- Create sustainability as a fundamental concept. There are generally three ways for integrating sustainability into a business including assimilation, mobilization, and transition, with the latter one being the most successful in long-term integration. Businesses that choose the transition method will remain in line with elements of the current company approach, they will also concentrate on shaping policies, processes, and beliefs about sustainability concepts. This was mostly accomplished by wide-ranging training as well as communication and recruitment and ensuring widespread adoption.
- Research. Businesses with an interest in sustainability that is superficial will follow whatever mainstream sustainable strategies are in fashion at the moment. In general, these strategies are employed as an element of their marketing strategy to try and gain greater brand value and gain more customers. But, these strategies tend to be more about giving attention to the idea of sustainability, rather than part of more comprehensive sustainable strategies. It is essential to focus on specific sustainability issues, instead of trying to implement general sustainability principles in an organization. It is essential for a business to decide which issues are important for their business and develop an action plan to apply those specific strategies.
- Innovate.13 Applying a sustainable lens to all aspects of the business could mean there will be a need to alter the business strategy. Innovations can arise from the necessity to shift the business to be more sustainable. They include:
- Inspiring board members and executives to concentrate on sustainability and to ensure that they are executing
- Develop and plan strategically for goods or services to yield long-term benefits
- Products and solutions for marketing that prompt an interest in sustainable choices by the consumers
- Implementing sustainable development goals in order to guide leadership development strategies
- Incorporate diverse leadership. Sustainable businesses consider the SDGs as a roadmap to achieve greater sustainability. They aren’t just focused on the environment, but also include more equality, fair wages, and investing in diversification. Diversity is essential in the development of strategy and implementation, especially in its ability to lead people to think from a variety of perspectives and create more complicated solutions to problems. This could prove extremely advantageous when trying to launch new business initiatives like sustainability initiatives.
- Create a long-term, comprehensive vision. Be aware of the importance of sustainability beyond just a temporary solution to keep the customers content. Sustainable companies set goals that are well-studied and feasible. The goals could be helping to feed schemes and expanding educational opportunities within and outside of the company or something more challenging, like creating sustainability initiatives all the way through all the chains.
- Take responsibility and continuously improve. Simply put, with increased transparency, comes greater accountability. This drives change and enhances outcomes, which is crucial to successful sustainability initiatives for companies.
- Embrace competitors as collaborators.17 When one key player in a sector becomes openly sustainability-focused, it drives others within that sector to follow suit. This kind of competitiveness encourages companies that are sustainable not just due to their positive impact on the environment, but also because it makes them more likely to maintain their sustainability initiatives. Leaders seek out like-minded competitors as well as non-profits with whom to create innovative ideas that may not be feasible for one company. Leaders who are aware of the strategies of their competitors must adopt key elements of their strategies and apply them to their own.
For businesses of all sizes and sizes, it is important to emulate global giants, for example, Apple and its pledge to be 100% carbon-neutral in 203018, or Salesforce already made it a net zero greenhouse gas emission worldwide and has a carbon-neutral cloud.19 But, both people and businesses can begin with a small step: recycle waste, utilize drinking water from taps instead of bottles, and or use natural light at work. Many of these are happening already at work; how many more could be accomplished through continuous, focused thinking about sustainability? The capacity of businesses to create positive change in the world is immense. With its unparalleled power of creation, production as well as distribution, the business community is well-placed to effect the changes needed on a large scale needed.
In the meantime, until interplanetary colonization becomes possible and sustainable business growth can be a way to save and repair our resources just one recycle bin at.