Another report promotes how adopting a sustainable approach is helping small businesses this week. It’s secured them new business, saved them money and generated good staff morale, among other things. But at the same time the report states that 42% of those firms questioned had little or no understanding of what it means to be sustainable.
It comes as the debate over using the ‘s’ word becomes more prominent, with some companies preferring to avoid the term as it turns people off or causes confusion. Whatever the words we use, it’s essential to get the thinking and philosophy behind sustainability out to the business sector as a whole as it can help improve business prospects, as illustrated in this latest report.
Sustainability can be defined as building a profitable business, taking into account social and environmental responsibilities along the way. In other words focusing on how a firm can develop into a strong business, which will be beneficial to the economy at local, national or international level, while recognising that the way we treat people and the environment can help in the process.
It’s about taking into consideration the impact the business has in the world, particularly on the environment and community, as well as harnessing the best asset we have – people – to the best effect.
Are your staff happy in their work?
Photo: Stuart Miles
We should focus on the philosophy and thinking of this approach, that views things differently from business as usual. An approach that takes a fresh look at systems, processes, products and services in an attempt to boost economic growth, fully utilise the resources we have, be it materials or humans, and create a more stable future.
Perhaps you’re looking to save money this year or looking to grow your business in a different sector. Incorporating a sustainable approach to your business planning can help achieve this by identifying areas where costs can be cut, such as the amount of waste you generate or energy you use, or reviewing the skills of your staff and seeing where improvements could be made.
No longer is the approach a one of ‘nice to have’ but it should be integral to any planning you do. Take time to identify the firm’s strengths and weaknesses and develop a different approach to build a stronger, sustainable enterprise. It will help improve the health and wealth of your business in the long-term.