Systemic Change Towards Sustainability in Business

By Bronagh Loughlin

Sustainability is becoming a huge buzz word and a big trend when it comes to marketing, advertising, selling and purchasing products. Sustainability practices are being adopted by many businesses, big and small.  

However, there are still lots of businesses that are yet to make efforts to become more sustainable, knowing the impact their business model has on the environment. Systemic change towards sustainability in business is absolutely necessary.  

Businesses need to realise that without a healthy and thriving planet, they would probably not have a business. In addition, our planet is on the road to destruction and we need businesses to help us stop this happening.  

Nature provides businesses with numerous resources from fibre, food, minerals to building materials. There are several potential risks for businesses if they continue to disregard nature and continue to contribute to climate change. These include increasing costs, operational risks, liability risks, supply chain continuity, predictability and resilience as well as reputation, regulatory, market and financial risks. 

In addition, there are huge risks to the planet as a whole and our own health if we continue to allow carbon to be pumped into our air. Businesses are also having a massive impact on sea life as more and more plastic enters our oceans. This plastic will eventually end up on our dinner plate too.  

Not to mention, most businesses are yet to adopt clean energy and properly segregate their waste. Transitioning to a sustainable business model will make your business much more resilient to future shocks. This is because it will have a better grasp of the changing external environment.  

In addition, going sustainable will allow your business to attract, retain and get the best out of employees, business partners and suppliers. Becoming a sustainable business will enable your business to become more efficient, improve your brand reputation and value, provide a platform for innovation, achieve better growth, cut costs and strengthen stakeholders’ relations. 

These are the goals of any business and by going sustainable, they are well within your reach. Whether your business is big or small, there are a variety of ways that you can transition to a sustainable business model.  

You can transition to a sustainable business model by embracing the circular economy. For example, if you require equipment, rent it or buy it second-hand instead of buying the equipment brand new.  

Businesses produce a lot of waste and always will do. Therefore, it is essential if you want to become a sustainable business to learn how to manage and segregate that waste. Include guides in your offices or your stores so that employees know exactly how to segregate waste properly. 

Try to reduce your waste too while you’re at it by encouraging the use of reusable materials over single-use. Adopt clean energy and reduce the carbon emissions associated with your business. Allocate the resources necessary to become a sustainable business and realise that there are more reasons to do so than simply winning over more customers. 

Think about your business operations from start to finish, become more accountable and always look for ways to improve your operations. It is vital that businesses make sustainability as much of a priority as making money. 

Individual action against climate change is applauded. However, it is now time for businesses to care for the planet too. Afterall, there is no planet B. The future of our planet is in our hands as individuals, businesses and governments. We all need to adopt change and save our beautiful world from destruction.  

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