In recent years, the term "sustainability" has become increasingly common as individuals and organizations around the world recognize the urgent need to address issues such as climate change and environmental degradation. At its core, sustainability refers to the capacity of individuals and organizations to minimize negative impact on the environment and society over time. For businesses, the challenge lies in achieving and maintaining sustainability in their operations. The question then arises: how can organizations ensure they have the "ability" to become truly "sustainable"?
SUSTAINABILITY INTO PURPOSE
To embed sustainability into a company's way of doing business, it is crucial that the purpose of the company reflects its commitment to sustainability. This can be achieved by creating a sustainability mission statement that clearly outlines the company's commitment and how it intends to achieve its goals. For instance, Nestlé, a global company, has stated its purpose as "Unlock the power of food to enhance the quality of life for everyone, today and for generations to come," which indicates the company's strong commitment to sustainability. By setting a well-defined purpose, a company can provide direction and focus to the whole organization, which in turn guides decision-making, prioritization, and resource allocation.
SUSTAINABILITY INTO CORPORATE STRATEGY
Once a company has a clear purpose, it can start incorporating sustainability into its corporate strategy. This involves considering sustainability in all facets of the business, ranging from the products or services offered to the supply chain, operations, and communications. Nestlé serves as an excellent example of this approach, with sustainability integrated into its company strategy. Nestlé has implemented several sustainability initiatives to reinforce its purpose, such as its commitment to responsible sourcing. By 2025, Nestlé aims to achieve 100% responsibly-sourced cocoa, coffee, and palm oil. The company then establishes responsible sourcing guidelines and collaborates closely with suppliers to ensure compliance.
Achieving sustainability requires a long-term commitment and effort from organizations. Embedding sustainability into an organization's purpose and corporate strategy can ensure that the company is firmly committed to sustainable practices and is actively striving toward reducing its environmental effects while enhancing its societal impact.
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