For a company to survive today’s ever-changing economy, it is important to prioritize sustainability. By looking for more sustainable ways to do business, a company can ensure it continues to operate in the foreseeable future and beyond. Sustainable practices allow it to outlive its competitors and even absorb the customers those competitors leave behind when they fail to exercise sustainable business practices. Let’s take a deeper look at what corporate sustainability is.
How Does It Differ From Corporate Social Responsibility?
“Sustainability” is a buzzword that companies often throw around in marketing ads and product brochures. It generally refers to prioritizing the needs of the environment over commerce by turning to practices that do not deplete or damage natural resources. This is one of the many aims of corporate social responsibility, but sustainable corporate plans are a little different.
Whereas environmental preservation is one of the main goals of corporate social responsibility, it is just a byproduct of sustainable corporate plans. AZ Central explains that business sustainability refers specifically to managers of a company finding ways to outlive the current business owners and its competitors.
Some business leaders may decide to embrace corporate social responsibility as part of that goal, but not all do. The good news is that market shifts may continue to push social responsibility into business plans. Customers are holding companies more accountable for their roles in socio-political and environmental issues.
What Are Elements of Corporate Sustainability?
Ultimately, how owners and managers decide to create a sustainable business comes down to personal opinions and preferences. After all, not all business owners believe in climate change or that human activities have adverse effects on the environment. Even so, here are some of the main inclusions in a good business sustainability plan:
- Analysis: To determine the best way forward, smart business managers first look at past data, current performance and future projections. They can then use this information to chart a sustainable future for the business.
- Goals: Continuity by itself is a vague goal. To combat this, smart business owners craft visions and mission statements that better articulate what they hope to achieve. These goals further determine the specific components of the sustainability plan.
- Customer Satisfaction: More businesses are catching on to the idea of prioritizing the customer experience. They recognize that modern buyers have the gift of choice, so the best way to keep customers is to keep them satisfied. Customer satisfaction is also now tied to company values.
- Cash Flow: For any business to remain afloat, it must have cash on hand so it can pay all its debts, grow its workforce and weather economic storms. Unfortunately, too many companies make this the primary and even sole aim of their sustainability plans.
- Causes: As alluded to before, more companies now recognize that they need to take a stand on social, political and even moral grounds to keep customers happy and, therefore, boost cashflow. Some companies also genuinely espouse certain ideals. Both types of businesses support causes to show this.
When businesses begin to work on remaining sustainable in the long term instead of just making a profit in the here and now, everyone benefits. However, until the focus shifts further away from cash flow and more toward causes, corporate social responsibility may continue to fall by the wayside for many companies.
What do you think is more important…corporate sustainability or corporate social responsibility? Drop us your input below!