Nisha and Rajat, senior employees at an artificial intelligence organization, are set to deliver their respective pitches for the post of CEO. Rajat goes first and presents a meticulous plan for unprecedented profits, reaching fresh target audiences and learning from competitors to stay one step ahead.
Nisha’s pitch also talks about maximizing profits, but it goes beyond financial goals to discuss the importance of fair hiring practices, environmental safeguards and phasing out the use of lithium.
Who do you think gets the CEO’s job? Nisha.
The reason? Corporate sustainability.
Meaning Of Corporate Sustainability
Corporate sustainability can be defined as the numerous ways in which organizations commit to making the environment and society healthier and fairer. Sustainability generally refers to caring for the needs of the future without ignoring the needs of the present. Corporate sustainability understands this and offers an alternative to models of traditional growth and profit optimization.
At the heart of corporate sustainability is the recognition that societal goals, particularly those concerned with sustainable development—environmental protection, social justice, equity—are non-negotiable.
Importance Of Corporate Sustainability
Before we proceed to explore the 3 pillars of corporate sustainability, here’s a look at the importance of corporate sustainability:
- The primary importance of corporate sustainability lies in constructing a roadmap for a cleaner, greener and rejuvenated planet, especially when it comes to climate change and global warming
- The importance of corporate sustainability lies in making industries and other organizations more aware of the sustainable development standards they should aim for
- In an age of heightened awareness about environmental and social issues, corporate sustainability is a great tool to reach more customers and convince them that organizations have their priorities in the right place
- Corporate sustainability matters because it allows organizations to adapt, rethink and grow, staying in touch with the needs and demands of an evolving planet and society
3 Pillars Of Corporate Sustainability
Corporate sustainability usually consists of three parts, also known as the 3 pillars of corporate sustainability. These 3 pillars of corporate sustainability—environmental, social and economic—are explained below.
1. Environmental Sustainability
This pillar is all about acknowledging our uncertain future on account of climate change, including the effects of pollution and global warming. To make the environment more sustainable, organizations are chiefly required to reduce their carbon footprints alongside facilitating proper waste management and waste disposal methods. Additionally, depending on the nature of the organization and the industry in which it’s engaged, water usage, recycling of materials, packaging processes and distribution networks can be brought in line with greater levels of environmental consciousness.
2. Social Sustainability
This pillar is about promoting equity in society and understanding the notion that organizations are expected to allow everyone equality of opportunity even if they can’t guarantee equality of outcome. Social sustainability includes a wide spectrum of initiatives and values. But, all of them are defined by a common motivation—to give individuals a fair opportunity to improve their lives and livelihoods. Elimination of discrimination on grounds of religion, caste, race, gender or sex is an indispensable part of social sustainability. Another is the focus on detecting power balances and exploitative tendencies in organizations and dissolving them.
3. Economic Sustainability
This pillar can be loosely explained as the maintenance of robust financial health for an organization. This means that not only do profits and revenue generation in the short-term have to be enhanced, but also that a long-term plan must be in place to keep an organization financially sound. Proper governance, risk management and industry compliance combine to make the economic pillar what it is, with the interests of the shareholders, value chains and end-user customers weighed proportionately. While there has been a trend in the past to champion economic sustainability at the expense of the other two pillars, most organizations are starting to accept that the 3 pillars must proceed in tandem with one another.
Examples Of Corporate Sustainability
In recent years, several leading organizations have delivered meaningful and relevant examples of corporate sustainability. Some of the best examples of corporate sustainability are highlighted below:
- Microsoft has diverted over 60,000 metric tons of waste from landfills in recent years, besides funding 20 water replenishment projects in 2020
- Lego has made significant donations to offshore wind farms and committed to improving the energy efficiency of Lego brick production by more than 12% per brick
- Quorn has committed to achieving net-zero emissions within its own operations by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions across the whole supply chain by 2050
- Another of the most consequential examples of corporate sustainability is Apple’s pledge to operate on 100% green energy facilities that rely on wind and solar power instead of fossil fuels
A Holistic Training In Corporate Sustainability
Given the vastness of corporate sustainability in theory as well as in practice, it’s natural to get overwhelmed and wonder how to master it all. This is why Harappa has come up with the Executing Solutions course to provide you with an in-depth guide on how to acquire a holistic understanding of corporate sustainability. Through frameworks such as the Bifocal Approach and the BLAST (Believe, Listen, Apologize, Satisfy and Thank) approach, you’ll be able to delegate deliverables, monitor progress and navigate crises in different aspects of corporate sustainability. A world-class faculty and a set of challenging yet compelling course exercises will prepare you to tackle corporate sustainability on all fronts.
Sign up for the Execution Solutions course and take a crucial step toward becoming a more complete professional.
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