Sustainable business practice: Are you doing your part?

What is a sustainable business practice? I’m sure many people, if pressed, couldn’t quite put their finger on precisely what it means. While it’s undefined, there’s no dark art to it – it’s simply enhancing the way you generate revenue or manage costs – in a sustainability-related way.

In all likelihood, if you’re reading this, you’re already ahead of the curve! Some businesses may be implementing these practices but don’t necessarily think of them as something new – they may just be ingrained in the company. If the ideas below are newer to you, they’re really worth researching and using as a tool to enrich your revenue, manage your costs, and, ultimately, boost your profitability.

  1. Circular economy thinking

The circular economy is a concept that has been gaining momentum in recent years and is essentially about models of production and consumption that involve reusing, refurbishing, or recycling existing products and materials to extend their lives for as long as possible.

So, what could this look like for your business? Clearly, it’s more relevant to some companies than others. Still, it could mean innovating and developing your products, so you plan to get all or part of them back from your customers to reuse or recycle them.

  1. Sustainable supply chain management

A practice that’s already ingrained in some businesses, this involves measures to make the supply chain less vulnerable to interruption – the disruption caused by Covid-19 has underlined the value of this. It also means managing or selecting your suppliers to help prevent environmental harm and promote human rights and fair labor practices.

  1. Working with second party opinion providers

While this one might be a bit more unfamiliar to you, think about it like this: Just as financial statements are audited by an external accounting firm, a second party opinion (SPO) provider uses its ESG expertise to provide an independent review of sustainability performance. 

You might bring in an SPO to validate or certify your organization’s ESG framework and credentials. They will likely also be needed to carry out the necessary specialist verification process for any financial instruments connected to business activities with positive environmental or social effects. Yes, even banking products could be sustainable!

  1. Become GRI certified

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is steadily gaining ground. If sustainability is your primary profession, be it in a corporate or consulting environment, and if you are supporting sustainability reporting within your organization as part of your role in operations, finance, communications, or other functions, consider becoming a GRI Certified Sustainability Professional.

KCL is GRI certified and offers GRI sustainability training course & professional certification program. This programme enables sustainability professionals to maintain, upskill and appraise their learning and be recognized for their knowledge of sustainability reporting through the GRI Standards.

Talking to many corporates either with or on their way to GRI certification, they often say that they learn so much about (sustainable!) business practices through the certification process, which helps them run their business more effectively.

Visit the KCL website and become a GRI Certified Professional today.

  1. Sustainable talent development

This is something I’m particularly passionate about and relates to an organization’s policies and focus not only to attract and develop talent but, furthermore, to allow employees to flourish with the capabilities and the commitment needed for current and future business success.

For your business, this could mean making efforts to have a mission with purpose that resonates with and is not just visible but credible to potential future employees. For example, does your business really have an inclusive recruitment program if you are only hiring candidates from universities? Are you ruling out certain groups in your recruitment process, and is this blocking diversity of employees and potential business ideas?

Providing facilities for car-sharing or cycling to work, flexible working arrangements, and focusing on being an organization with a clearly defined social or broader purpose beyond shareholder value are all policies that should make your business attractive to an ongoing pipeline of the best talent.

The above merely scratches the surface on sustainable business processes here, and your top 5 might be different. I’d be happy to hear from you on your thoughts or questions on the above.

Our team of experts at KCL will be thrilled to help you.