Sustainability is the topic of conversation on many people’s minds lately. Though the COVID-19 pandemic derailed everyday life, sustainability objectives remain constant. Specifically, business sustainability is growing in popularity. Companies are realizing the effects their actions have on the public, environment and economy. By taking steps toward eco-consciousness, like sustainable supply chains, businesses can strengthen their social responsibility.
The Need for Sustainability
The coronavirus has affected almost every country in the world to a great extent. You’ll notice how some regions recover and work toward flattening the curve before backsliding. Health is the primary concern during this back-and-forth dynamic.
The economy is another primary concern. With unemployment skyrocketing in the United States to over 14% in April, local businesses and bigger companies are both taking a hit.
In the overlap of declining public health and struggling businesses, communities are having a difficult time recovering. Higher levels of air pollution and unsustainable business practices worsen this recovery. For instance, a Harvard study recently linked air pollution with higher COVID-19 mortality rates. Since the coronavirus is a respiratory virus, lower air quality can be the difference between life and death.
Fortunately, however, a focus on the environment and sustainability objectives shows a healthier path forward where every individual and company can benefit. Business sustainability is key to this path.
People want to go back to the status quo — when things were business-as-normal, and no one had to worry about COVID-19. Interestingly, though, the pandemic highlights what companies must change to reach a new, better status quo.
Businesses contribute to a high portion of greenhouse gas pollution. In 2018, 22% of greenhouse gas emissions were industry-related, meaning that corporations have a long way to go in becoming sustainable. Waste management, energy use, recycling and resource consumption all influence sustainability, too. For a safe future where the economy can thrive for companies of any size, businesses must act now to protect consumers and reduce the effects of climate change.
How Businesses Should Take Action
Sustainability requires collectivism. People must come together to focus on the common goal of reversing the effects of climate change and protecting the planet. Businesses have many actionable steps to take to reach sustainability objectives and adopt renewable practices.
First and foremost, companies need to focus on people first. Part of building a sustainable future means ensuring that employees can contribute to the workplace efficiently. To do so, they need proper pay and benefits. Healthy well-being, on an individual and collective level, is the start of a healthy economy and planet.
Businesses need an overhaul regarding public health. You may have seen more public commitments to recycling, reducing waste and conserving energy as the pandemic affects human and environmental health. This trend must continue. Renewable energy, specifically, is key for business sustainability — it helps reduce that 22% of industrial emissions and therefore improves the poor air quality harming individuals.
These practices should then expand across the supply chain. COVID-19 has shown how supply chains across the world cannot handle disruption. If you think back to the beginning of the outbreak, you may remember how grocery stores were selling out of essential products — the supply chain couldn’t keep up.
However, with a more sustainable supply chain, corporations and consumers will see a change. Once one business reduces its waste production and energy and water usage and focuses on renewable energy, others along the supply chain can follow suit. Globalization of business sustainability is the way forward.
Finally, these steps bring businesses closer to a circular economy — meaning nothing goes to waste, and renewable and sustainability objectives become the central focus.
An Environmentally Conscious Economy
Sustainability is a sign of progress in the business world. Whether it’s a sustainable supply chain or renewable power solutions, these steps forward show consumers that a business is environmentally conscious. You’ll find more companies you can trust that have the best interests of the public and the environment in mind. For long-term benefits that keep consumers coming back to buy, a business must pursue sustainability.