Sustainable Development is an approach that organizations have started using to rediscover the added value of their activities and define innovation strategies that incorporate environmental, socio-cultural and political objectives.
Do you want to create a business strategy for sustainable development? There are some factors that you need to keep in mind.
Conceptualizing a Business Strategy for Sustainable Development
Sustainable development is a business concept that goes beyond compliance with environmental regulations, the implementation of cleaner production concepts or human resources policies. The objective is to achieve a balance between the social, economic and environmental dimensions to ensure the continuity of the company in the long term.
The incorporation of Sustainable Development within the business strategy is one that translates into tangible benefits for the organization, to achieve a strengthening of competitive advantages as well as new business opportunities such as:
- Access to new markets.
- Increase in sales volumes by demonstrating that it is taking place in a sustainable manner and by taking advantage of sustainable business opportunities.
- Cost savings for eco-efficiency.
- Reduction of risks due to non-compliance with stakeholder requirements.
- Strengthening the capacity for innovation and differentiation.
- Generation of new business opportunities.
- Customer loyalty.
- Brand improvement.
- Improvement of productivity.
It involves establishing an integral management system that includes all the necessary dimensions to manage a company (economic, environmental and social dimension).
In order to do this, we must focus on the integration of economic, environmental and social dimensions.
The economic dimension: services, products and capital, employees, suppliers, investors and banks, the public sector, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and clients. The goal is to achieve a balance between the economic relations with the different entities of the environment, to increase the sustainability of the company through the creation of value and the generation of economic development.
The environmental dimension with environmental management, waste reduction, efficiency in the use of materials, proper waste management and improvement in product design to reduce its environmental impact throughout all stages of its life cycle.
The social dimension seeks an adequate economic result for those involved, a better quality of life for workers and the community and a reduction of environmental impact with the social impact of the organization both internally and externally:
- Quality of working life and well-being of employees.
- Contribution to the well-being of the community and society in general.
- Business ethics (protection of human rights, transparency, integrity and justice).
- Product responsibility (consumer health and safety, advertising).
It is opportune to rethink the main turn of the business, its scope, its market penetration, its expectations and those of its associates and workers and, finally, its projection in society, to redefine the mission, vision and organizational values, so as to reflect the commitment to sustainable development.
It will be advisable to formulate a new Analysis of Strengths, Opportunities and Threats, in the socio-environmental and global scenario, to write the objectives and the new Critical Success Factors. In addition to incorporating the characteristics of the market that determine our business in the field of competitiveness and our relationship with them.
The integration of sustainable development in the business strategy is indispensable for the creation of a culture that incorporates this way of acting day by day in each process, in each action and stimulates it permanently. But even if we manage to permeate all the functional areas of the company, the need for a reaction in the short term requires us to formulate projects that allow in a given context, with specific activities, in a set time and with programmed resources to successfully achieve the business objectives.
In order to do this, it will be essential to start with an Awareness stage at the beginning of each project, a stage to provide information on the concept of sustainable development so that the personnel of the company involved in the project become familiar with and internalize the significance of sustainable development.