Saturday, February 27th, 2021

3 Facets of Business Sustainability

By Catherine Rocheleau on Nov 30 2011 • Filed under Business

Building a Sustainable Business (Photo)As a business leader, it is important for you to help exact change. You are the leader of your own business and your career but do your business practices protect the environment and have a positive impact on your community?  

Our customers today want more from the businesses they buy from. As a business owner, you want to set the bar high and attract others who support your vision and will help you achieve the goals and outcomes identified. Your goals and values should be transparent so customers can identify with you and support your efforts. Short-term success is not the desired outcome. Instead, efforts should be directed toward long-term sustainability. In addition, each of the results attained must be measureable.  

Sustainability is often thought of in terms of social or environmental sustainability.Economic sustainability is the third area and critical for business longevity. Sustainability, by definition, requires that results can be maintained over the long-term and resources are not depleted or damaged permanently in the process.

As a business owner, leadership in sustainability is important but often not top of mind. I reckon sustainability in business is a whole lot more! As a business owner today, it is important to consider sustainability in three critical areas.  

1. Earth Friendly

The “green” movement has heightened our awareness of environmental sustainability.  Business owners have the ability to take many steps to reducing their carbon footprint. The key is to integrate earth-friendly activities into everyday activities in your business rather than have them as a separate initiative.

Some easy earth-friendly initiatives you can implement easily include:

  • Work from home – a common choice of small business owners which eliminates commuting
  • Allow your team to also work from home can create a very productive team while also providing an environmentally friendly benefit for all
  • Turn off task lights and screens when you are away from your desk
  • Shutdown the computer at night
  • Print on both sides of paper
  • Choose recycled paper or paper from sustainable forestry practices
  • File documents electronically instead of printing and filing hard copies
  • Use reusable cups and water bottles instead of disposable
  • Check out the earth-friendly options your suppliers have to offer 
  • Choose suppliers who maximize your ability to choose earth-friendly supplies and delivery options
  • Order less often to reduce deliveries

2. Be a Good Corporate Citizen

Social sustainability encompasses your community, your suppliers and your team. Philanthropy is one component of social sustainability.  When you are a profitable business, it is important to “give-back” to community endeavours. These efforts can include financial donations as well as donations of time or skills.

Social sustainability also includes a business owner’s responsibility to ensure they offer a safe work environment and pay a decent wage. In some areas, the living wage has been established to reflect a wage that is necessary to keep employees above the poverty line. The living wage includes wages and benefits including vacation and health care benefits. All workers are covered by employment and work safety regulations in your areas.

When you have a good social sustainability program in place, you are viewed to be a good employer and therefore able to attract and retain top talent. In addition, customers and your neighbours will view you as a good corporate citizen.

3. Focus on Black

A sustainable company is one who is able to generate revenue that covers current expenses and allows for profits that can be reinvested into the business and the community. Economic sustainability will enable your business to meet all current and future government regulations and ensure proper protection of all assets, including risk and crisis management.

Are you like so many small business owners who turn a blind eye to your financial reports? When you fail to closely track your financial reports you may not be able to react appropriately when things spin out of control. Need some help?  A business coach with a sound knowledge of financial reporting can support your efforts to stay in the black with an eye on the green.

1 Comment


  1. CSR – Not Just for Big Business! – | Entrepreneurial Woman Magazine

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