Sustainability in business is no longer just a buzzword – corporations both large and small are embracing the concept of corporate social responsibility and considering their impact, both positive and negative, on the environment, on society and on the well-being of their employees.
As businesses look to emerge from the upheaval of the COVID period, many are looking to embrace a return to sustainable business practice. In a recent study by Deloitte, 95 percent of companies surveyed reported they’re planning to take stronger stances on large-scale issues in the coming year and devote significant resources to socially responsible initiatives.
Sustainability in business generally addresses two broad areas:
- The effect business has on the environment
- The effect business has on society, including employees and other stakeholders
The goal of a sustainable business strategy is to make a positive impact on either or both of those areas, and of course must fit into a broader business strategy focused on profitability and growth. While these aims may appear inconsistent with one another, companies are increasingly discovering that responsible corporate practice is reflected in stronger investment outcomes, leading to a ‘triple bottom line’ approach to business growth.
Triple bottom line refers to ‘people, planet, profits’ and means companies are focussed on more than just generating profit but also making a positive difference for our people and planet.
In turn, by looking out for the community and the environment, companies can also drive profitability.
Many investors today use Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics to analyse an organisation’s ethical impact and sustainability practices. Investors look at environmental factors such as a company’s carbon footprint, water usage, and community development efforts, while from a human capital perspective consider matters as broad as board diversity and employee remuneration policies.
Similarly, purchasing behaviours are more and more driven by consumers who feel aligned with the values of a company.
This drive to a more sustainable business model has substantial implications for recruitment and selection. Just as consumers are more likely to purchase from a company with similar values to their own, employees with social awareness are equally likely to seek to work with companies with which they feel they can identify.
A global survey conducted by LinkedIn in 2016 revealed that 74% of candidates want a job where they feel like their work matters.
In the same way, employees with the skills and experience to help drive a socially-aware corporate strategy are in high demand.
This non-traditional skill set was not widely taught until recently, and is seen as a strong asset in potential recruits.
The Lexis Certificate IV Business (Sustainability) has been designed to provide graduates with the skills required to positively drive sustainable corporate change.
The program considers the question of sustainability in natural environment, in work practices and in personal development, and supplies graduates with the measurement and assessment, development influencing and communication skills required to build consensus and institute meaningful corporate change.