The challenge of being a sustainable business in the DR
The cost of economic development has had unintended consequences that cannot be overlooked: pollution, climate change, depletion of water resources, demographic and social imbalances. Companies are not above these problems.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
On a global level, as well as on a business level, we are exposed to risk factors that are increasing in terms of number and intensity. Recently, the World Bank said that by 2030, climate change could drive 100 million people to extreme poverty, particularly in the poorest areas in the world, which will be the ones most affected by weather phenomena. The rise in sea levels and the increased temperature on the planet in the next few decades will generate a catastrophic environmental imbalance with the loss of ecosystems that cannot be quantified in financial terms. The world has changed and this change is not very promising for this generation and future generations.
The challenge is to ensure that the challenges posed by sustainability on the Governance, Environment, and Social Responsibility axes are transformed into opportunities
For this reason, Sustainability is playing a key role in the way in which companies do business, redefining the financial model and aligning it with ethical, environmental, and social axes to develop a new business model, where social and environmental benefits are part of corporate success, granting the social legitimacy that ensures its long-term stability.
Companies are currently facing stricter environmental, legal, and work regulations and demands, greater scrutiny by the civil society, and increasingly demanding established and potential markets.
The challenge is to ensure that the challenges posed by sustainability on the Governance, Environment, and Social Responsibility axes are transformed into opportunities and can be integrated into the company strategy for execution and implementation. Long-term sustainability in a company requires specific short-term actions.
Being a sustainable company goes beyond a mere Corporate Social Responsibility policy or Environmental Certificates. The real challenge for companies is to redefine their strategy, the way in which they do business.
HOW TO ACHIEVE IT
• Transparently: being a sustainable company means contributing to the building of trust based on transparency and accountability. This is done by including improvements associated with corporate governance and best management practices. This enables companies to be better prepared to meet society’s current demands for information, based on higher demand levels.
• By being eco-efficient and innovative: rethinking schemes for ongoing improvement, cost reduction, and eco-efficiency based on process and product innovation allows companies to be more competitive.
• By being inclusive: aspiring to social inclusion and not only to integration, promoting equality and contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of partners leads to the creation of shared value.
• By involving stakeholders: the company should understand what matters to stakeholders, what matters most about its business, as this ensures that its strategy is correctly aligned. In this way, the policies and programmes developed to face the company’s challenges and opportunities can answer stakeholders’ views and concerns, creating an alliance that facilitates the achievement of shared goals.
• By opening up spaces for discussion: being the manager of spaces where clear commitments and actions aimed at individual and collective sustainability can be generated at the civil society, government, and business levels.
A sustainable company should assume that we all have a significant role to play in society and that creating a society which can develop in a sustainable manner does not only depend on companies
• By mitigating climate change: a sustainable company should be able to integrate Climate Change in its business strategies, considering that emissions are no longer the most relevant issue, and that aspects such as efficient water use, promotion of renewable energies, and sustainable waste management should be included.
In conclusion: a sustainable company should assume that we all have a significant role to play in society and that creating a society which can develop in a sustainable manner does not only depend on companies. Companies are organisations that are composed of people who have leadership skills and talent. All employees who work in them are directly or indirectly responsible for their behaviour, and are thus part of its contribution. We must become more empowered and proactive citizens. Albert Einstein was right when he claimed that we cannot expect to obtain different results if we continue to do things in the same way. We only have one planet and one opportunity to change.