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Beyond Buzzword: Empowering Organizations through Sustainable Success

Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword; it has become a crucial aspect of business operations. Companies across various industries are recognizing the importance of integrating sustainability into their everyday practices.

This year UAE announces that 2023 is the “Year of Sustainability” and in addition to promoting sustainability across various sectors, business sustainability has become a crucial topic in today’s society, as organizations seek to balance economic growth, social responsibility, and environmental protection. Sustainability refers to the ability of a business to maintain its operations over the long term by considering its impact on the environment, economy, and society.

Key Takeaways:

  • Employee engagement plays a vital role in successful business sustainability management.
  • Aligning personal and corporate values, defining the company’s long-term purpose, and spelling out the economic case for sustainability are important practices.
  • Creating sustainability knowledge and competence, making every employee a sustainability champion, and encouraging healthy competition are effective strategies.
  • Visibility, showcasing a higher purpose, and engaging in transformational change contribute to sustainability success.

A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that sustainable businesses have a significant advantage over their non-sustainable counterparts. These businesses have lower costs, higher employee morale, and improved brand reputation, all of which lead to increased profits. Additionally, sustainable businesses often have a competitive advantage, as they can attract and retain customers who are environmentally and socially conscious.

Another study, by Accenture, found that companies with strong sustainability practices outperform their peers in the long term. These companies are able to effectively manage risks and uncertainties, which leads to improved financial performance and a more stable operating environment. In addition, companies with strong sustainability practices are better equipped to adapt to changes in the market, and to take advantage of new opportunities.

While sustainability initiatives may be driven by top-level management, it is the engagement and involvement of employees that truly make a difference. Here are some areas that a company could focus on to promote sustainability within their organization.

Bringing Together Personal and Corporate Values

Employees often struggle to balance their personal values with the demands of their work. Business sustainability management requires reconciling these values in order to create a cohesive and purpose-driven workforce. By aligning personal and corporate values, companies can tap into the intrinsic motivation of employees and drive sustainability initiatives from the ground up.

Developing Sustainability Knowledge and Competence

Sustainability encompasses various aspects of a business, from energy consumption to procurement. To enable employees to integrate sustainability into their decision-making, companies should invest in sustainability education and provide the necessary tools and processes. This will help employees to make more informed decisions and ensure that their actions align with the company’s sustainability goals. It will also help the company to stay ahead of the competition and reduce its environmental impact. For instance, a company might offer online courses to help employees better understand the concept of sustainability and how it applies to their roles or provide access to resources such as databases and research reports to inform their decisions.

Empowering Employees as Sustainability Advocates

Strong leadership is crucial to creating a sustainable company. Leaders must lead by example and actively engage in sustainability initiatives. A good example is Unilever, which encourages its top executives to identify their personal purpose and work on sustainability challenges in order to achieve business growth. This involvement not only bridges the gap between personal values and business interests but also fosters innovative solutions to strategic issues.

However, sustainability champions should not be limited to top-level management. Every employee can have a role in achieving the company’s sustainability goals. All employees should be encouraged to identify their individual purpose and to find ways to contribute to the company’s sustainability initiatives. The collective effort of all employees will be essential to achieving sustainability goals.

Fostering Positive Competition Among Employees

Competition can be a powerful motivator for driving sustainability initiatives. By fostering a culture of healthy competition, companies can encourage employees to push boundaries and collectively solve sustainability challenges. This can be done through incentivizing green initiatives, such as rewards for employees who come up with the most innovative ideas. Companies can also foster competition by offering recognition for achievements, such as awards for those who have contributed the most to sustainability efforts.

Promoting Sustainability Transparency

Visibility and salience play critical roles in changing beliefs and attitudes. Companies should measure and communicate their progress on sustainability indicators to engage employees and external stakeholders.

Celebrating success and recognizing employees who contribute to sustainability goals further reinforces the importance of sustainability within the company. By making sustainability visible, companies create a sense of pride and motivation among employees. This in turn can lead to higher levels of engagement, as employees believe they are part of something bigger. It can also help to attract and retain talent, as employees are looking for companies with a positive environmental impact.

For example, a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review revealed that 87% of employees said they would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues.

A Greater Purpose Through Transformative Change

To make a significant impact, companies should go beyond their own operations and engage with other organizations. Collaboration and partnership enable companies to tackle larger sustainability issues that extend beyond their own value chain. By working together, companies can share expertise, knowledge, resources, and funding to create innovative solutions. Additionally, companies can create collective action initiatives and campaigns to raise awareness and engage the public in sustainability issues.

Employee engagement is a crucial factor in successful business sustainability management. By aligning personal and corporate values, defining a long-term purpose, and emphasizing the economic case for sustainability, companies can create a culture of sustainability. This makes employees feel more invested in their company’s sustainability initiatives, which can lead to higher retention rates, increased productivity, and better customer satisfaction. All of these can help create a work environment where sustainability efforts are more likely to succeed.


  • Post Author
    Ashton Porter
    Posted February 16, 2022 at 1:44 pm

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  • Imogene Martin
    Posted February 16, 2022 at 1:49 pm

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