Guest Blog by Dr Paola Fiore | ETICAMBIENTE®
Paola is Founder & CEO of ETICAMBIENTE® Sustainability Management & Communications Consulting
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Happy New Year and welcome back to The ALLEN & YORK Network – a platform for sharing insight and opionion directly from experts within the sustainability sector.
Our first guest blog of 2017 is from Dr Paola Fiore, who continues her series of blogs looking at sustainability in business. She asks the question:
How do we increase "sustainable business growth" and "profitability" while preserving natural resources and empowering citizens and society as a whole?
A growing number of organisations and networks are engaging with public and private companies to integrate sustainable development principles into their medium to long-term business strategies. They are embracing international movements for sustainability, climate resilience and making adaptations, both at local and global level.
In the current debate around how to meet the challenges of corporate sustainability within the 21st century, there are several essential factors that businesses need to consider. These are usually categorised as; economic, social, political, environmental, technological and global influences.
These influences deal with the key issue of transforming manufacturing and retail practices into more sustainable procedures and operations; and such findings strengthen the conviction that economic prosperity should always ensure good health and a safe environment.
With the development of more sustainable products and services, companies can provide benefits not only to the economy and society, but also to the environment, during the entire life cycle process - from raw materials extraction to the final disposal of waste.
Sustainable products and services increase corporate growth and profitability, empower citizens and society as a whole and preserve natural resources for the benefit of future generations.
It is also arguable that sustainable products can be cheaper to create, have less liability and fewer legislations / regulations to comply with, need minor time to enter the market and are preferred by a growing number of consumers.
As such, there are big opportunities to create and develop more environmentally and socially responsible products and services and such a transformation, I believe, would replace conventional ways of production and distribution in the world over the next five to ten years
Powerful groups and coalitions of sustainable product manufacturers, environmental organisations and local authorities have already started to use market mechanisms to increase sales and the market share of sustainable products and services.
These alliances of people and organisations have started to identify sustainability production and distribution criteria to gain public consensus and empower awareness of sustainability issues, as well as of the benefits of their sustainable products and services, and drive the transformation at local and global level.
Which factors are changing rapidly within the marketplace?
First of all, five key aspects should be considered:
- Customer need.
- Organisational capability.
- Challenges of climate change.
- Threats from environmental forces.
- Competitor strengths and weaknesses.
By taking into consideration these points, it is easy to understand that any element of a successful and competitive business strategy is influenced directly or indirectly by the risks and opportunities associated with environmental issues and social responsibility concerns.
That’s why any issue about product, price, manufacturing, distribution, sales force, supply chain, customers, advertising and promotion should be considered by any company under a more sustainable economical, social, environmental and climate perspective.
It is evident that in today’s marketplace sustainable products and services are gaining a growing share of the market, at local and global level; now, “sustainability” is recognised as the other essential face of “profitability”, and sustainable products and services will be more and more competitive and profitable within the market arena in the medium and long term.
There is no doubt that more sustainable products and services, as well as the benefits of a greener growth and more responsible profits, have started to re-shape global and local economies, all while helping small medium-sized enterprises and large companies become more innovative and creative businesses.
Taking seriously into account as a whole the interests of the natural environment and its different ecosystems, climate change and societal issues are the only responsable and sustainable approach to avoid other economic and financial crisis, and boost the industrial recovery at European and international level.