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In a word, "sustainability" relates to "awareness." It means that companies should consider their impact on the local community and the world-at-large when conducting their business. In a market where consumers are becoming increasingly conscious about how companies manufacture, process, and distribute their products, embracing sustainability is a crucial business move.
The U.N.'s Our Common Future report sees sustainability as a "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." There's no single, clear-cut way to achieve sustainability as it depends on many different factors and which industry one is in, but the certainty is that it requires conscientiousness and consciousness. It can mean:
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- Creating an efficient, waste-reducing supply chain
- Providing jobs for unemployed workers with relevant skills; running a safe and healthy work environment
- Sourcing raw materials locally for lower carbon footprint; or
- Collaborating with suppliers who use similarly fair and environmentally-friendly practices.
Add that to an understanding of the market and the need of the community, and then one has a profitable and, therefore, an economically sustainable company.
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With his knack for innovation and learning, Tom Wolters has led companies to great success. Follow this Twitter account for valuable business and entrepreneurship insight.