Over the last decades, there has been a growing awareness of the need to change the current economic model towards one that incorporates sustainability at the heart of ensuring a social and environmental balance. For this reason, the concept of corporate sustainability is becoming one of the key lines of business in small and large companies. In this article we tell you what is corporate sustainability and some of its keys.
What is corporate sustainability?
The concept of sustainability refers to "balance" and can be viewed from different perspectives: economic, social and environmental.
Corporate sustainability refers to the company's contribution to sustainable development: its ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Characteristics of corporate sustainability
Businesses are one of the major agents of change in society. As such, they have a responsibility to incorporate environmental and social practices into their business. However, there are different levels of incorporation of environmental and social practices. sustainability in business:
- Hygienic or minimal: at this level are those companies that comply with current legislation, monitor their social and environmental performance and report it appropriately.
- Strategic level: corresponds to those companies that incorporate sustainability aspects into company decision-making.
Corporate sustainability covers the latter group of companies with the following key features:
- They have a sound sustainability strategy that takes into account their material aspects and is therefore relevant for the company.
- Based on this strategy, they set ambitious environmental and social targets and work towards achieving them.
- Sustainability is integrated into the different areas of the company as a management element beyond external communication.
- The most relevant aspects of sustainability are reported to the organisation's highest governance bodies, both to monitor their performance and to incorporate them into their decisions.
For such companies, sustainability is an opportunity to improve their business performance, positioning and long-term sustainability.
How to develop corporate sustainability?
When it comes to work sustainability strategies in business, in order to achieve these objectives, it is necessary to establish some prior objectives. This will help us to specify the actions that we will later implement in the organisation. Once the objectives have been defined, depending on the needs of the company, different actions can be implemented. These are some of the most commonly used strategies:
- Involving senior management of the company
- Mainstreaming the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) to their business and prioritising.
- Conduct a materiality analysis to determine which aspects are most relevant to the company's business and its stakeholders and should therefore be focused on.
- Defining a strategy The company has a solid, rigorous and achievable sustainability strategy that sets out the direction in which the company should move forward.
- Set your own objectives to transform them into business objectives and integrate them into the company's strategy.
- Integrate sustainability aspects into the different areas of the company.and in the governance of the company.
- Inform and communicate to the rest of the companyThis will facilitate the dissemination of corporate information, access to corporate information by stakeholders and general awareness of the shared set of priorities.
Benefits of implementing sustainability in business
Corporate sustainability has become a strategic asset for companies because:
- Improve efficiency in the use of resources, reducing costs for the company and the end user.
- Generate new sources of income emissions arising from the circular economy, such as the identification of waste that can be used by other companies as raw materials.
- Participates in the value chain of other organisations (as suppliers and customers), including public administrations, which have started to include environmental clauses in their purchasing and contracting processes and to develop measures to drive industry towards the development of increasingly sustainable and health-safe products.
- Develop innovative products and processes of higher quality through the incorporation of the environmental and social variable in the design process, which will differentiate them from their competitors, make it possible to access new markets, etc.
- Improve your reputationThis can enable you to gain more customers and reduce the risk of losing the ones you have due to a bad company image.
- It can become an improvement in the employee engagementThey will be contributing to objectives beyond the economic benefit of the company.
- Attracts investment.
The commitment of Spanish companies is increasing. The sustainability in business has become a key strategic resource and a competitive necessity. Organisations that operate sustainably are today more profitable and resilient.
Find out more about corporate sustainability on our blog and how to develop it in your social impact strategy!