A responsible approach to people and nature is not only good for the sustainable development globally, but also pays off for companies from a business point of view - this has been proven not only by the success of many sustainably active companies, but also by numerous studies.
Resource-conserving behaviour that does not exploit people or the environment is good for the company's reputation among customers and trading partners, but also in the eyes of investors and other financial backers. Those who work sustainably and create transparency about their processes gain an important prerequisite for business: trust.
Few disadvantages, many advantages.
Sustainability in a company also has advantages for its operations:
- Many consumers are happy to pay higher prices if a product is produced or grown sustainably and thus ensure a better margin despite the higher production costs.
- Especially in production, efficient, sustainable processes can save costs in the long term - for example, energy costs through the use of solar energy.
- Responsible businesses or companies that invest in sustainability also receive tax advantages or government subsidies in many countries.
Sustainability can be implemented throughout the business (Copyright: Kenny Eliason, Unsplash 2022)
Transformation with strategy.
But how can sustainability be implemented in a company? Ideally, on the basis of a specially developed sustainability strategy that defines the areas in which the company wants to contribute to sustainable development and the short-, medium- and long-term goals through which this is to be achieved. This specifies the individual measures and makes them tangible and measurable for all involved. In addition, various sector-specific national or international sustainability standards can be integrated, such as the ISO 14001 standard for environmental management systems.
The German Sustainability Code of the German Council for Sustainable Development (which advises the German government) offers interested companies support in setting up a sustainability strategy and an introduction to sustainability reporting in order to make successes visible to the outside world.
The concrete measures derived from the sustainability strategy affect many areas of a company. To structure these, one also speaks of "ESG", i.e. criteria from the areas of environment (Environmental), social (Social) and responsible corporate management (Governance). The range is wide: from the compatibility of job and family and the exclusion of child labour at suppliers to ecological issues such as emissions, biodiversity or organic production. At the same time, however, the aim is to continue to operate economically and profitably.
In most cases, the measures focus on things that can be implemented directly in the company, such as saving electricity/energy and water through more economical devices and technologies and reducing waste. The latter is also accompanied by the use of resource-saving packaging both in production and in the office. But environmentally friendly mobility is also an issue - both for the company and for its employees.
However, sustainability does not stop at the factory gates: many companies are involved in sustainable projects in their region by providing personnel or financial support, thus making their desire for sustainable transformation visible.
Likewise, more and more companies are attaching importance to transparent supply chains and compliance with social and ecological standards among their business partners at home and abroad.
Corporate Sustainability benefits the employees (Copyright: Michael Marais, Unsplash 2022)
Good for people
Corporate social responsibility (as corporate sustainability is also called) can also be important for retaining the company's most important asset, its employees. After all, transparent processes, a good working atmosphere and a business model that takes into account the needs of future generations increase employee identification. The advantages: Less fluctuation, higher willingness to perform and a comprehensive understanding of the business strategy.
And those who trade in goods or depend on the use of raw materials from suppliers are well advised to look for partner companies that also work sustainably or that benefit from cooperation, for example by investing in jobs and prosperity in their region - for example in developing and emerging countries.
Sustainable projects and partnerships in the context of development cooperation
From the perspective of German development policy, cooperation with the private sector is therefore an important way to achieve development policy goals such as the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and to implement sustainable development in partner countries. Accordingly, the engagement of the private sector should be used more strongly in terms of development policy, with a focus on the topics of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and development partnerships with the private sector.
For this reason, the matchmaking platform leverist.de was created as a digital tool with the focus on attracting private sector companies to participate in development cooperation projects, from which all cooperation partners benefit: the companies, by opening up new and lucrative markets for their products and services in Africa, South America or Asia, for example, and contributing to sustainable development, and the developing countries, which benefit from the know-how and/or the investments.
Discover all profitable and at the same time sustainable business opportunities of German development cooperation here at leverist.de
Copyright Hero Image: Zbynek Burival, Unsplash 2022