How to draw a roadmap to sustainable business
Cashflow is the lifeblood of every business. Most companies cannot afford to look beyond profitability in the short run. But sometimes you just gotta to give. Strategic planners with foresight recognise the attractive returns of social responsibility, despite reaping returns more in the long run.
What leads you to sustainable development goals? Which stakeholder plays a crucial role in the value chain? There are four primary value chain components that stand out in a strategic sustainability business model:
Produce goods and deliver services sustainably and profitably. How? By taking in consideration three sustainable components: 1) working conditions, 2) raw materials and 3) environmental performance.
Take for example Mondi Group, the paper and packaging company. Recently, the international organisation rolled out its sustainability strategy program. This complicated process involves all the company stakeholders and requires thorough due diligence on Mondi’s vast supplier network spread across 30 countries.
Also, Mondi’s sustainability policies and management systems focus on key global trends affecting society and business, including:
- modern slavery and unsavoury working conditions;
- ethical sourcing of raw materials;
- reducing deforestation through forest-friendly policies such as the Growing Responsibly Model.
You may be interested to know how to conduct Due Diligence for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. Learn about the OECD Guidelines.
Staff play a fundamental role as CSR-ambassadors. Notably, the Millennial generation (born 1980-2000) tend to adopt socially responsible values. As you already know, engaged employees who relate with the company values tend to perform better and push profits to upper levels.
Large organisations such as Mondi plc take more time and effort to implement and adapt revised changes to business operations. The effort to meet profitable sustainability objectives comes at a high cost – bigger budget allocations to human resource for staff training as well the marketing department. The organisation`s social responsibility marketing strategy weighs heavy on communication and carefully orchestrated campaigns. Company resources are largely funded to promote the means and ends of sustainable profitability measures within internal and external business operations.
You cannot ignore the rising demands for sustainable products and services.
Mondi plc recognises this.
Customers in Europe respond more to climate change management and environmental efficiency and are likely to have the means to pay for biodegradable packaging. Whereas the customers in Africa refer to sustainability as a way to save cost for maximum output in Africa.
I wonder how Mondi tackles the dilemma of producing quality environmentally friendly paper and packaging at affordable prices. Perhaps you can tell me.
There are multiple ways to engage with existing and potential customers. Social Media is a great medium to listen and obtain direct feedback from customers. You need to keep your green enthusiasts happy. Brand loyalty is key, which brings me to the subject of branding.
Throughout my childhood, Mama reminded me and my siblings not to boast. I try not to blow my own trumpet excessively and prefer others to do it for me. Funny enough, this applies to companies as well.
Organisations cannot rely only on public relations and advertising to boost their brand cred. There are sneakier methods to increase brand awareness. Carefully embedding sustainability values into the mission statement is one way to develop’CSR programs, collaborate with socially responsible advocates and Aphropean Partners to consult on sustainability marketing campaigns.
Take care of the planet and people for profits
The private sector is in a prime position to make a real impact in the way we live our lives today and in the future. Social entrepreneurs tend to tie sustainability to the mission and value proposition. Larger organisations will more or less be forced to view sustainability in the same light as quality. The recent international standards demand a sustainable approach to its value chain for profits in the long run.
Who says it is easy to create a path of profitable sustainability? Or sustainable profits? The aim to sustain a competitive advantage in the long run while taking care of the people and planet.