This decade will be extremely important in determining what the future environmental and business landscape will look like in the future. Many have turned to sustainability practices to ensure the the long term viability of their organizations. Sustainability is a broad but critically important concept for individuals, governments, nonprofits and traditional for-profit business. 

In 2015, the UN set a series of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), a set of objectives for world leaders to work towards before 2030. Some of the goals include elimination of poverty, transition to affordable, clean energy, achieve greater global economic development, consume and produce goods responsibly, and ensure health of animals, plants, oceans and earth. While the goals are broad the UN and other governmental bodies have since been working with private sector leaders to develop concrete steps to accomplish the SDG’s in a way that is good for the globe and good for the businesses’ bottom line. According to Accenture, in 2019 48% of CEO’s had incorporated elements of the SDG’s into their operations and business strategies.

Sustainability

 

Sustainable business practices not only contribute to the moral and ethical aspects of a firm but can also increase long term profitability. Some aspects of sustainable business practices involve reducing waste, streamlining supply chains, and shifting to use of clean energy sources. Not only are these good for the environment, but in many cases these are also the most cost effective alternatives. While a task like streamlining a supply chain might seem daunting, it is imperative that small business look into these transitions early on so that when they scale, they can continue to augmentation of the firm’s sustainability practices. Additionally, sustainability can improve a business's ability to recruit talent, retain employees, and attract customers. Further, these methodologies can help a business achieve greater corporate social responsibility, expedite acquisition of government contracts, and improve public relations.

Beyond the traditional definitions of sustainability, businesses can think about sustainability in a broader sense. Sustainability extends to the concept of creating solid and long-lasting technological and organizational infrastructure. When companies start out with technologies and strategies that can scale, it can save a significant amount of time and resources going forward.