Sustainability and governance refers to the action of managing processes and resources with an eye toward future needs and consumption. Environmentalism drives some government and business actions in this area. Creating sustainable processes also provides intrinsic value for companies.
Sustainability is achieved through a variety of decisions, including recycling, choosing sustainable resources for development and manufacturing, and reducing resource consumption in offices or factories. You’ve probably heard about reducing your carbon footprint. Carbon accounting is also evolving, establishing systems to grow greener businesses.
What it Means for Your Business
Sustainability and governance sounds expensive. Companies do have to spend money on things such as new designs, R&D changes, and retrofitting. In the end, however, sustainable solutions may pay off on the bottom line. According to a July 2013 white paper from CH2M Hill, companies that set public, specific sustainability goals see an improvement in both environmental and financial performance. The paper notes one reason the bottom line seems to benefit is because sustainable processes use less energy, water, and other resources.
Sustainability and Governance Supports a Strong Future
Financial trends aren’t the only reason to consider governance and sustainability. When business practices are driven solely by the interests, needs, or benefits of executives, then a changing of the guard often means a disruption in business flow. When sustainability is a goal, and the business works to govern processes toward those goals, changes in executive leadership don’t impact future growth as much.
Start Today, Start Small
Businesses can start today with small sustainability and governance goals. Companies such as Apple and Google are paving the way with large commitments such as green data centers. Yet small and medium sized businesses can start with single priorities or processes. According to the CH2M Hill white paper, the best performance comes from firms with three to four specific goals. Select sustainability goals that are possible but challenging, and don’t commit to so many that your overall business goals suffer.
What are your thoughts about sustainability and governance?