Sustainability is a key business driver that is gaining hold in virtually every sector or the economy. It would be a mistake to view sustainability as a luxury investment or merely a public relations tool. Sustainability is a strategic imperative that is absolutely de rigueur for companies seeking to be a competitive part of today’s marketplace. This view is supported by a recent sustainability guidance document assembled by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
As explained by ICC Secretary General John Danilovich:
“Sustainability needs to be understood as a key business driver, rather than a luxury investment or a public relations tool. A growing body of evidence shows that developing a corporate culture of sustainability is a major source of competitive advantage in today’s economy.”
“becoming a sustainability leader requires changes in all relevant business practices, but that the effort to do so is most certainly worth it – in environmental, social and economic terms alike.”
There are a large number of studies that convincingly make the business case for sustainability. Together these studies support a bottom line oriented argument for engaging sustainability.
For example, the ICC reports that companies with high ratings for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors have a lower cost of debt and equity. They also commonly outperform the market in the medium and long term.
As explained by Industrial Management researchers Minttu Laukkanen research shows that sustainability offers a competitive edge. Laukkanen reviews the myriad pressures pushing companies to be more sustainable. These pressures include legislation, consumer demands, cost efficiency or lack of resources.
Going forward sustainability is destined to keep growing and businesses that want to stay in the game really have no choice.