If you have a business and you have heard of the raging Sustainability storm in the global business arena, then you must ask yourself some very intrinsic questions. It is time to join hands with Sustainability & ensure maximum success.
Effectively engaging sustainability with various stakeholders such as customers, government and non-government agencies, investors, etc is key to a company’s positioning.
Besides core sustainability staff members, senior leaders, employees, and valued customers should be able to answer questions about the company’s sustainability efforts in areas like social policy (labor practices, employee health, and safety, community support, etc), environmental policy (water use, waste management, greenhouse emissions, etc) and economic policy (supply chain management, direct and indirect economic value generated, etc) to establish an image of credibility and trust amongst future customers and stakeholders of the company.
“87% of American consumers will make a purchase because a company advocated for an issue they care about. 76% of Americans expect companies to take action against climate change. 73% of Americans would stop purchasing from a company that doesn’t care about climate change.” (Source: Maryville)
In view of this, we analyzed the most frequently asked questions from these areas across companies from diverse verticals and product ranges. Below is the gist of how to handle them best as a company.
Read also: 5 Sustainability Trends for Businesses to Follow in 2022
5 Sustainability Questions to Ponder Upon if You Are in a Business of Any Sort
Q.1 Does your company follow a holistic program for sustainability?
Simply stating “yes” won’t be enough. If asked this question, you should be prepared to explain how your company defines and views sustainability, and how this definition and vision align and integrates sustainability into all facets of your business.
Q. 2 How does sustainability integrate with your company’s overall strategic planning?
When answering this question, it is imperative that a company be able to elaborate its sustainability activities as integrated into its fundamental business plans and strategies, and reflected in its company culture, vision, and overall strategic direction. Simply asserting an idealistic aspiration toward sustainability without outlining a map towards this integration can be perceived by the stakeholders as mere wishful thinking
Q.3 What major social, environmental, and economic challenges and opportunities do you see in your company?
Companies should have a clear perception of the most important social, economic, and environmental challenges in their commitment to sustainability. In addition to how these challenges potentially impact the company’s finances, operations, and product, both now and in the future, the company should articulate the opportunities these conditions present for bettering internal processes and systems within the company.
The company should care to elaborate on what it has done along these channels for improvement, especially in areas of higher interest to the stakeholders and society at large compared to intra-company concerns.
Q.4 What goals and targets do you use to track your sustainability efforts, and what progress have you made so far towards these goals?
Apart from having an ideal vision for sustainability, it is imperative to balance it with clearly defined and measurable targets and goals on the ground. Companies should be able to show commitments to concrete, clear and measurable goals they track for their sustainability and present an account of their progress towards realizing these objectives. A picture of how their sustainability goals will also positively impact their social, economic, and environmental positions should also be articulated to buttress the sustainability goals as value-adders to the company
It is important, when answering this question, to be candid even about the difficulties your company might be facing in one or any of the goals it has outlined, and the measures it has taken to address them.
Q.5 How have sustainability efforts enhanced your company’s value?
Businesses have standardized calculations for justifying the monetary value of a new business model, production process, or shift in strategy. Therefore, integrating the value addition in employee satisfaction, environmental sustenance, workplace safety, and other non-tangible returns into a monetary return on investment is a tricky and challenging task facing all companies.
Companies should find creative and compelling ways to translate these gains into a calculation that factors in both the monetary and “soft” value of efforts in the direction of sustainability.
Read also: 5 Sustainability Giants to follow in 2022