The Importance of Sustainability as a Core Business Value
By Andres Goyanes, MBA | Team Gemini Marketing and PR Advisor
Becoming a sustainable company is an integrative strategic approach where every employee, division, strategic partner, vendor, and client should be aligned under a common effort to make decisions that can positively impact the Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet and the Profit that leads to prosperity.
In recent years the concept of sustainability has been publicized and politicized as a critical element of business future-proofing, yet no true standards have been set—except for independent organizations and activist groups that have their own agenda.
So how do we become more sustainable and actually mean it?
As a competency, sustainable business exists today because mankind has had a somewhat parasitical existence on our planet. Our decisions over the past 150 years—mostly made in the name of progress and the advancement of industry and technology—were made initially with an inherent ignorance of the lasting effects of overuse and aggressive consumption of our natural resources.
The industrial revolution is considered by many the culprit of today’s sustainable woes since this milestone in human history prompted companies and governments to jump into a race for control of profits and achievement—all at the expense of the environment and the people who must now suffer the consequences of this great leap in mankind achievement.
So what are the consequences of poor decision making, from a business perspective? Here are some consequences to create a point of reference:
- Health-related issues as a result of pollution and the use of food preservatives, which lead to higher healthcare costs and increased use of medicines—which in turn have filled our bodies with antibiotics and chemicals that become ineffective over time
- Lower-quality foods since crops must be managed using harmful chemicals and inefficient processes, including the failure to recapture biofuels from organic waste and other renewable energy resources
- Higher prices on resources that have been mined and depleted to keep up with consumerism and companies seeking to make a profit—despite generating millions of tons of waste from unsold produces that have not been consumed
- A lack of focus on community and environment-centric strategies that could potentially reduce costs in the long-run, while increasing the quality of life which can lead to reduced crime rates, increased enjoyment of common areas, lower consumption of energy, eating better food, and ultimately ensuring the wellbeing and future of humanity at the street level—not from a board room.
In the past few decades, access to information via the Internet and the media has led to increased awareness by Corporate America, government and the public about sustainability—and slowly but surely that awareness has led to a more conscious approach to doing business without creating additional burdens or causing more harm that what has already been done.
Many companies have chosen the more difficult path to achieve sustainability by investing, strategizing and developing plans of action ranging from the creation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives to the development of recycling campaigns and conservation efforts.
The most important takeaway from sustainability as we enter the middle of the second decade of the new millennium, is that companies must learn to manage resources, take the environment into consideration, live up to their accountability claims, and ultimately bring people together so that the community as a whole can contribute to their success.
With so many eyes watching the daily operation of companies and the advent of social media as a way for people to shed light on the failure to act with good corporate governance, the need to be sustainable is not just a necessity—it can have a lasting impact in the future of Corporate America.
A report covered by Harvard Business Review in early 2014 discovered that less than 10 percent of U.S. companies have dedicated resources such as committees to managing their sustainability or CSR efforts. This clearly points to a need for more companies to see the benefit of communicating value on the basis of sustainability using accountability, transparency and their effective management of their resources.
Team Gemini has been one of those companies that not only has created a blueprint for sustainable business development, but has also integrated sustainability into every one of its projects.
With a goal to partner and work with organizations, communities and governments seeking its expertise in green competencies such as sustainable agriculture, recycling and waste-to-energy, Team Gemini plans to be a common denominator for sustainable industrial development—and help companies align with the Triple Bottom Line.
Andres Goyanes is a member of Team Gemini’s Board of Advisors in the area of Marketing and Public Relations and holds an MBA with a concentration in Sustainable Business. He is Managing Partner + Executive Director at Executive Marketing Communications, LLC, a marketing and PR firm working with industrial companies and the growing opportunities of the green economy.