For any organisation, business or local, regional or central authority (actors), there are a few things that should be in place if they want to claim they’re working with sustainability. Way to often I meet businesses or other actors that tell me they do work with sustainability, but they mostly refer to their CRS work (Corporate social responsibility) where they donate money to civil society or they do operational work, such as certain activities for trash-picking and so on, but that’s not a business striving to become sustainable.
Serious sustainable development can only happen in a society where actors first look at themselves and how they create harm but also how they can contribute to good. Sustainability is not only a WHAT it’s mostly a HOW. How do we operate? How to we provide our costumers with goods and services? In what way’s do our service contribute to the global goals? The last one is a WHAT, different from the other two that is a HOW.
How to become a successful sustainable business? These are the 5 musts:
Policy for Sustainable Development
Sustainability aspects in the Code of Conduct/Organisational Chart
Action plan for Sustainable Development
Climate action plan according to the Paris Agreement
Policy is essential to define what sustainability means in your context. This is the umbrella to relay on so we all can agree upon what sustainability means for our business.
Principles such as anticorruption, inclusion, climate awareness and so on should be a part of the code of conduct and organisational chart. This is the backbone of the business/organisation and tells us our values. To strive for sustainability can not only be a question of profit or market opportunities, it must be a part of the business values.
Action plan, what are the goals? What needs to change? Just to define and set the framework is not enough, you need a plan with proper goals, indicators, a strategy and a budget (especially the budget part, though to change your business into a sustainable one is an investment because your investing in your brand, probably reducing cost in different areas and so on. I’ll explain more in a future post).
Sustainability reporting is important for transparency and to be trustworthy. This is where you show your results. The indicators will tell the reader about your performance and the storytelling how.
Climate action according to the Paris Agreement is something I believe most businesses lack. Most actors want to set it according to their size and capacity to reduce their carbon emissions. With this state of mind, a light version of “business as usual”, the target set at the Paris Agreement won’t be met. Everyone needs to half their carbon footprint within a decade. This is commonly called the Carbon Law.
Do you know any business that lives up to all these 5 criteria’s? Has your business implemented a proper sustainability work? If not, you should hurry because otherwise you’ll be out of business pretty soon..