10th Anniversary of Naba Martin Adongo Abilba III

Demand for sustainability  in business environment (2)
The writer

Demand for sustainability in business environment (2)

Economic sustainability is the second pillar, also known as “capital maintenance,” (the ability of companies to remain in business) is inextricably linked to both social and environmental sustainability.

 It is the process of allocating and safeguarding resources while ensuring positive social and environmental outcomes.

Social sustainability is defined as a condition that improves a population's quality of life, as well as the method by which the condition can be achieved by investing in education, health care, and infrastructure, among other things, to remove structural barriers in these key areas of life over time.

Data show that the interdependence of the pillars is critical in achieving effective sustainable development and that to practice sustainability, all three pillars must be sustainable at the same time.

Sustainability or Sustainable Development 

UNESCO differentiates between “sustainability and sustainable development” to resolve semantic differences, and we must do the same for clarity based on the focus of this column and clarity.

Sustainability is viewed as a way of thinking about the future in which environmental, economic, and social factors are well-adjusted in the re-creation of a higher quality of life. 

Its ethics and standards are founded on general ideas like gender equity, environmental preservation and restoration, intergenerational equity, social tolerance, poverty alleviation, natural resource conservation, and the growth of fair and diplomatic cultures, as a result, it is regarded as a “long-term goal,” whereas sustainable development refers to the various procedures and pathways that could be used to achieve sustainability.

According to the World Commission on Environment and Development - UNESCO's 1987 "Our Common Future" Report, "development that meets the needs of the future without compromising future generations' ability to meet their own needs" is considered sustainable development because it is “a vision of development that encompasses population, animal and plant species, and integrates concerns such as poverty alleviation, human rights” ...

To that end, this space will cover all aspects of the concept of business sustainability.

Sustainability in Business

The obvious role of business is to supply the world with goods and services that not only make our lives easier but also better.

However, in their pursuit of profits, many organisations cause long-term environmental, economic and social damage, which cumulatively affects the quality of our lives and the cost of doing business in general. 

The world is arguably less sustainable and healthier now than it was in 1992 when the Rio Conference was held. 

The question is whether we can build profitable businesses that can expand indefinitely without causing environmental damage.

In The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability, Paul Hawken provides an answer to the above question of how to create a profitable and environmentally responsible business that minimises damage to the environment.

Re-engineering business and development requires us to think "without the box" to achieve sustainability in all spheres of human activity, including technological, economic, agricultural, education, construction, manufacturing, and others. 

Fortunately, the United Nations Development Goals have spawned a plethora of different models, fields, and applications of sustainability, which collectively provide us with an idea of how sustainability has been incorporated into various aspects of human endeavour, including business.

Milton Friedman (1976 Nobel Prize in Economics) stated, “The business of business is business,” which accurately reflects the global corporate world's business-as-usual nature. 

This contrasts sharply with the call to conduct business in a more sustainable manner, which is labelled - Sustainable Business.

Recognising that there are new challenges in the business environment that are outside of the market prompted the need to incorporate such challenges into existing business processes and practices. 

These concerns, which generate both risks and opportunities, are primarily driven by civil society and standards organisations, as well as others who may be harmed by unsustainable business practices.

Businesses, then assess and integrate these concerns into their existing practices and processes while maintaining their “business-as-usual’’ focus with the clear goal of profiting shareholders.

Many businesses are realising they can do well by doing “good” as they implement sustainability into their operations.

However, the question remains: what is business sustainability and why is it important?

Sustainable Business

Simply put, sustainability, as used here, refers to a way of doing business that has no negative impact on the constituent communities, environment, or society - balancing environmental and societal needs against business profits. 

There are two areas to consider here: business's impact on the environment and society. 

The goal of sustainable business is to positively influence the environment or society so that no issues of environmental degradation, social injustice, or inequality are caused by their actions or inactions.

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