Sustainability: the Natural Step and Sustainability

Subject: Environment
Pages: 5
Words: 1389
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: Bachelor

Sustainability has become increasingly crucial for all businesses in all areas. Sustainability is a business strategy for producing long-term value by considering how a specific firm performs in the environmental, social, and economic contexts. The concept behind sustainability is that establishing such measures boosts firm lifespan. Firms realize the need to consider sustainability as corporate responsibility requirements increase and transparency is becoming more common. Professionalism and good intentions are no longer sufficient. However, sustainability is becoming more and more crucial each year, forcing companies and people to take measures and save the planet. This course profoundly impacted my perceptions of sustainability and its benefits.

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Societal and Environmental Objectives of Sustainability

The first concept I would like to shed light on is the societal and environmental benefits. As inhabitants of Earth, people face several environmental challenges that must be addressed in order to safeguard their home and ensure its safety for the following generations. This is only possible if everyone accepts the responsibility and starts to act. The combined efforts of individuals and companies all around the world can lessen detrimental risks and increase the Earth’s lifetime. The notion of sustainability recognizes that the planet’s resources are finite and strives to overcome abuse of those resources. People will be able to maintain resources for future generations if everyone works together to protect the environment.

The lecture video materials show the adverse effects of people’s attitudes and how the situation has worsened through the decades. For example, one of the videos from Week two resources defines sustainability as a process in which “things can keep going, can sustain themselves” (Naturalsteponline, 2015, 0.5). However, it has become hard for the resources to remain in a proper condition and amount in the past decade. The speaker in the video provides several methods to reduce negative impacts, including reduction of dependence on “heavy fuels and heavy metals”, “synthetic chemicals”, “destructions of nature” (Naturalsteponline, 2015, 0.55). As a result, this is supposed to help the resources work correctly and not impose any threat on the human race.

The vivid and relatable animations and the focus on the central issues covered in the videos played an immense role in my understanding of the problem. Subsequently, I decided to replace some of the daily-used products with more organic and eco-friendly products. For example, the deodorants I used contained synthetic chemicals that have a negative influence on the environment. As a result, I replaced them with organic deodorants with natural ingredients and paper packaging. I also stopped using plastic water bottles and plastic bags. In my opinion, the most significant outcomes are achieved with small steps.

Moreover, with sustainability becoming a trend that is not likely to disappear, the materials strive to push people to make changes. In this sense, one of the speakers in the YouTube channel Sustainability Illustrated video says that “there is no better time than now” (Sustainability Illustrated, 2013, 0.16). While written materials seem to be more objective and strive to give an overall picture of the situation and the main effects of the problem, video materials try to influence the audience’s perceptions. As a result, the most significant impact was made on me by video materials with graphics and words.

Along with videos and literature prescribed in the resources, one resource made a memorable impression on me, and it was an ecological footprint calculator made by WWF. This calculator provides questions that help determine one’s approach to sustainability (WWF-Australia, n.d.). The questions reveal how much energy, fuel, processed food is used by you daily. My result indicated that people would need almost 5 Earths if everyone lived like me. While I thought I did well, the results made me feel embarrassed and disappointed. As a result, now I refuse to use vehicles on an everyday basis and without a necessity. This questionnaire made me think that if I do so much harm, then the kind of harm other people do must be horrifying.

Impact of Corporate Approach to Sustainability

Additionally, with such an increased media exposure of sustainability and eco-friendly approaches, many companies decide to incorporate these strategies into their produce and marketing. As a result, such businesses face growth in sales and investments. With increased emphasis on sustainability, a sustainable firm is particularly enticing to potential investors. A company may entice new investors to finance the projects by including sustainable components into the business plan. Impact investment is becoming increasingly popular nowadays, with people trying to make a change. These impact investments are ones that are created with a beneficial impact on the environment in mind as well as financial benefit in mind. With this logic, it stands to reason that attempting to make a positive environmental and social effect will improve investment prospects within the company and propel its economic growth.

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For example, Week four resources explore businesses that put an emphasis on sustainability. There is a list of Dow Jones Sustainability Index Industry Leaders with the best performers in 61 industries (S&P Global, n.d.). Therefore, there are companies that focus on sustainability in almost every industry and sector. As a result, people have bigger opportunities to support such businesses and make a change in the world. The job of supporting sustainability is becoming easier since almost all of the most famous companies have implemented this approach.

For instance, Nike and Adidas have both taken significant steps forward. Adidas has established a greener distribution network and tackled particular concerns such as coloring and removing plastic bags, whilst Nike has concentrated on decreasing waste and lowering its impact. Walmart and IKEA have taken steps toward more sustainable commerce, mainly through fostering cooperation across their distribution networks to reduce waste, boost resource efficiency, and optimize material utilization. The companies have also attempted to improve local labor standards by partnering with manufacturers from emerging regions.

Thus, by researching the companies that support sustainability, I have realized that I can be helpful, and while enjoying the product, I can also contribute to the eco-friendly approach of the company. In my situation, the companies do include not only well-known brands but also small businesses that put emphasis on their natural products. Along with natural skincare products, I decided to go further and use eco planners, which consist of recycled paper. Supporting local and small businesses helps to expand the sustainable approach.

However, I would like to express some suggestions that could help me, both as a customer and potential investor. Some specific areas get overlooked by many companies who view themselves as sustainability-oriented businesses. While, in my opinion, there is no single correct strategy for the implementation of sustainability, the optimum option would be to align the company’s sustainability aspirations and interests.

First of all, corporations must adhere to the approach, which often refers to rules in the management of waste, pollution, energy consumption, and individual rights and labor responsibilities. As an investor and customer, I am concerned about compliance. Running a big company comes with a lot of responsibilities and expenses that include energy consumption and waste management. I disregard businesses that produce too much waste, cause air pollution, and consume too much energy.

Additionally, after reviewing course materials, I would like to require more transparency from companies. In my opinion, businesses need to evaluate the conditions, improve sustainability measures, and provide potential investors and customers with accurate reports. Simply said, I cannot judge the company without proper disclosure. Transparency is based on the premise that an open atmosphere in the workplace and with the community improves performance. Firms can only achieve transparency via open interactions with all-important shareholders that are based on high levels of information openness, accuracy, as well as a willingness to recognize flaws and resolve the issues. Otherwise, there will be no connection with customers and shareholders.

To summarize, sustainability is a big concern that affects more than just individual businesses. While sustainability is receiving more popularity, there is a need to spread awareness. After examining course materials, it became obvious that sustainability is not only about a label with an eco-friendly caption on it, it is about preserving wild habitats and saving the planet for future generations. A number of significant corporations are creating forward-thinking environmental practices, which is promising. As a result, it is becoming increasingly evident that sustainability is a huge phenomenon that is not going to disappear.

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References

Naturalsteponline. (2015). The natural step and sustainability explained in 2 minutes. YouTube. Web.

S&P Global. (n.d.). DJSI Industry leaders. SPGlobal. Web.

Sustainability Illustrated. (2013). Why is sustainability important? A tip to explain it. YouTube. Web.

WWF-Australia. (n.d.). Ecological footprint calculator. Web.