By Katreena Sarmiento
Sustainability has been an increasingly relevant topic of conversation across different spheres. From policy-making to education, health, and even among businesses. As public opinion slowly shifts toward active participation in mitigating the harmful effects of our collective actions toward the environment, it is important to align business goals with social and environmental responsibility.
As such, sustainable development goals (SDG) have become tools to help businesses identify opportunities for stability and growth while maintaining inclusion, equity, and responsibility in all its aspects. If you’re a business owner or an administrator looking into the importance, check out these four reasons why sustainable development goals should matter to businesses:
1. To mitigate risks beforehand
As with every business, regardless of industry, risk assessment is an important and often lifesaving practice. It investigates and analyzes potential hazards not just in the context of workplace safety, but also in terms of economic viability. By sticking to outdated business practices or by sourcing labor or materials from environmentally and ethically questionable sources, you are putting otherwise avoidable risks to the company. Not only are these non-sustainable–meaning they risk going out of capability for supply anytime soon – but they can also affect employee and customer behavior.
By adopting a strategic approach to sustainability, you can prevent or at least reduce risks beforehand. Shifting to renewable energy sources and eco-friendly materials, for example, means adopting technologies that continue to be studied and improved and could be cost-efficient alternatives to existing solutions.
2. Secure growth
This reason affects a business individually as well as the community they belong to and the rest of the world. With sustainable development goals set in place, a business can implement a sustainability strategy addressing climate issues that is tailor-fit for their visions, objectives, and most importantly, their capabilities. Being sustainable doesn’t simply mean being good to the environment. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, it means something that can keep a business unit thriving at least for the foreseeable future. This also drives countless initiatives to find cheaper and more accessible alternatives that can involve more entities in the fight to mitigate climate change.
In a simpler context, SDGs are necessary to secure growth because it shows the company’s commitment towards social and environmental responsibility. Take the jewelry industry for example – most diamond-encrusted jewelry manufacturers now undergo the Kimberley Process. It is a certification scheme that regulates the diamond trade and ensures that the gems are not from areas that are conflicted or use forced labor to generate these stones. This appeals to people in general because, after all, who would want an engagement ring built upon the blood and tears of people elsewhere in the world.
3. Realign business focus and process
By setting and implementing SDGs in your company, it will shift the direction of the company not only in terms of finances or performance but in the culture. An implementable goal toward sustainability is something not meant only for compliance, but to create a holistic culture that operates on all levels toward the defined objectives. As such, it will affect the priorities of each department and even the process indicators for each employee.
Similarly, these goals will change business processes. While it might pose a bit of a financial challenge, with the upfront costs for changing processes and resources, it pays off in the long run. This also necessitates proper planning, that the shift be the least disruptive to the business operation. For example, environmental consciousness in the workplace can start with initiatives to encourage saving water and energy whenever possible. However, doing it on a company-wide scale might include investments in alternative and renewable sources–showing the company commitment to sustainability with the effort to show for it.
4. Invite and access new capital
Realistically speaking, not all businesses have the same access to the capital they need to begin aligning themselves with SDGs. However, there are ways and options that allow for less capable entities to jumpstart their respective plans toward sustainability. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a set of economic incentives for businesses that take the initiative to shift to more environmentally-friendly alternatives. It includes tax deductions, subsidies, as well as other financial tools to encourage businesses to take the leap toward green business solutions.
Similarly, there are funds, organizations, and initiatives focused on helping businesses make the transition toward sustainability. They offer capital in terms of funds, education, and skills to help make the shift more realistic and more attainable–providing additional value to the company concerned as well as to the environment.
Regardless of whether you’re a huge multinational or a small mom and pop store, there’s no better time than now for businesses to adopt sustainable development goals. Ensuring enough resources for the next generation has to be a global, concerted effort and everyone has a share in making it happen. Aside from our global responsibility, having these SDGs in place can help ensure that your business thrives in this rapidly changing economy.
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About Katreena Sarmiento
Kat is a Molecular Biology Scientist turned Growth Marketing Scientist. During her free time, she loves to write articles that will bring delight, empower women, and spark the business mind. She loves to bake but unfortunately, baking doesn’t love her back. She has many things in her arsenal and writing is one of her passion projects.