Who is Defining Business Sustainability? Are you?

Who is Defining Business Sustainability? Are you?

With climate change and the business case for sustainable business strategies still hotly debated, is it a wonder why more businesses and individuals aren't boldly communicating business sustainability programs and results.  As the sustainability space evolves with emerging labels, guidelines, definitions, and reporting structures (not to mention domestic legislation and global agreements), it’s accompanied by critics internal and external to the space.  Granted, the contrasting conversations provide clarity and best practices but the real kudos are to those businesses engaged in the actual pursuit of sustainability.     

Proactive businesses are greeted with messages from stakeholders: some applauding sustainable business strategies while others criticizing actions and intentions.  Who is defining business sustainability?  The organizations? Stakeholders? Or, both? 

The journey to business sustainability begins with the stakeholder relationships closest and most heavily invested in the success of the business.  These interested parties include:

  • Shareholders – knowledge that may affect company share price.
  • Partners – data that may impact investment dollars.
  • Employees – daily feedback on internal operations.
  • Customers – direct feedback on product quality and shifting market expectations.
  • Suppliers/Contractors – input on new material sources and process improvements.
  • Local Communities – continuous feedback on business impact on society. 
  • Natural Environment – feedback from NGOs on business impact to physical surroundings.
  • Non-human species – feedback from NGOs on business impact on life.

By embracing sustainability’s core principals of inclusion, transparency, and engaged communication with stakeholders, sustainable change is not only possible but encourages ownership and accountability within multiple levels internal and external to the organization.  Collectively, we are shaping and defining the meaning of business sustainability.  

This post originally appeared on the Taiga Company Blog. Distributed with permission of the author.