Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Building a sustainable company

Over the recent years, "sustainability" has enjoyed a position of popularity as an inter-industry buzzword, and it's not showing any signs of disappearing into the ether. In fact, it seems like more companies are aspiring for sustainability. But what does that entail? And what does it mean for profits?

Image Source: greenbiz.com

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:

Image Source: sbaprogram.com

- 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.

Image Source: cw.iabc.com
And of course, sustainability can't simply be a value-adding proposition or a "bonus" to attract clientele or investors. For sustainability to indeed be sustainable, it has to be authentic. It should be in the company and its brand's blood.  

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.


  1. People and businesses are learning the value of environmental sustainability.

  2. I wish 100 percent of all businesses follow sustainable models and practices.

  3. "For sustainability to indeed be sustainable, it has to be authentic." <-- couldn't agree more.