Thoughts on the principles of profitable sustainability
It’s not a secret that the prerogative of an organisation is to maximise profits. It is in our interest that the business can afford to pay wages, continue to produce the products and provide the service that we have become accustomed to love. The issue of public concern is unethical practices to achieve these profits.
Typical examples are the emissions scam of Volkswagen that went on for seven good years, or the slave labour in Bangladesh endorsed by H&M, and if that is not enough, the latest insult of H&M tweeting that white models portrayed a more positive image for the brand in H&M South Africa. At least the company apologised.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as Guiding Tools
The list is endless. I don’t want to use this post as an assault. Instead, the aim is to share insights on how businesses can be socially more responsible and remain profitable by adopting policies in line with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The 17 SDGs were set by the United Nations to combat climate change, protect our oceans and forests, improve overall health and education and to tackle poverty. All members of society are encouraged to work towards these goals by the year 2030. It is a tall order but better than nothing at all.
Governments across the world have developed policies towards SDGs, by dashing tax incentives for dynamic organisations and innovative entrepreneurs, that adopt activities of corporate social responsibility (CSR). You may ask, what is CSR? According to Think Tank Simply-CSR, it is the process of assessing an organisation’s impact on society and evaluating their duties.
Profiting from Corporate Social Responsibility
By incorporating feasible corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities into a strategic action plan, it is possible for a business to boost employee morale, strengthen the brand, increase customer loyalty, improve investment opportunities for supporting communities, reducing the exploitation of the environment and developing countries.
For all of its advantages, CSR is something of a double-edged sword: The initial costs of implementation are high. But, in the long-run, it pays off for all stakeholders, as recognised at the 3rd Frontiers of Dialogue on CSR Across Borders: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa.
Acting social responsible for business and an individual is a win-win situation for the overall global society. Despite high costs of initial investment, an ethical business can be big business. Just look around you and see all the current efforts made towards sustainable living. Even H&M is trying hard to convert.