“Development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 

Brundtland report 1987

Nature Meets Sustainable. Buttercup squash – green sweet pumpkin on the farm. Pumpkin plant growing in the garden. Selective focus. Horizontal shot

In the 1990s, the United Nations and intergovernmental organizations had to put hard strides to get companies interested in sustainability. Now the battle is almost over as companies’ executives have realized that sustainability is a strategic agenda to stay for long. Hence, virtually every leading company is integrating sustainability in its policy formulation. Similarly, diversity and inclusion have never been prioritized like it’s been in today’s world. Nevertheless, the most successful diversity and inclusion plans are the sustainable ones. 

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How leading businesses are addressing the issue of environmental sustainability

In the recent day and age of global warming, sustainability becomes more imperative than ever. Ranging from leading corporate firms to intergovernmental organizations, every entity is placing sustainability among their top properties. According to a recent survey published on the IMD site, 62% of the executives consider strategizing sustainability necessary to lead the competitive world today. Therefore, sustainability as a business approach creates long-term value by assessing how an organization operates ecologically, socially, and economically. The following case studies indicate how leading businesses across the globe are toeing in line with sustainability objectives:

In the last five years, Nike and Adidas have focused on a greener supply chain to minimize their footprints. Similarly, they have eliminated plastic bags to show their commitment to a sustainable future.

Moving on, Unilever and Nestle have shown commitment in areas such as product cycle, climate change, water-efficient, and waste management. Similarly, Pepsi and Coca-Cola have made strides on ambitious agendas like water replenishment. 

Top firms are embarking on a sustainability journey to strike a balance between economic gains and environmental safety. All other firms, big or small, must follow suit to address the pressing issues related to environmental degradation. 

Why environmental sustainability is integral to your business’ success

Protect the brand value and eliminate risks

It is every CEO’s nightmare to appear on the front page for improper practice. A business does not fingers pointing at it for some misdemeanors like forced labor or public relations misconduct. Initiating a sustainable development strategy not only protects the environment or workers but also protects your company’s reputation and brand value. By facilitating sustainable growth, businesses stand for positive impacts, generating public trust and value for a company. 

Sustainability builds trust among stakeholders.

Formulating a comprehensive strategy and encompassing a proactive approach in human rights, anti-corruption health, and safety, businesses serve as the foundation of contemporary enterprise. 

Being purpose-driven gives your company a competitive advantage

S&P 500 companies having sustainability incorporated into their strategy perform way better than those who ignore strategizing sustainability. According to Researchers from Harvard Business Review, companies prioritizing sustainability see an 18% higher ROI as they plan for climate change.

Prioritizing sustainability reduces the cost of a business. 

Making your business greener has a high initial cost, but it saves money by strategizing sustainability as a business lingers.  2011 McKinsey survey on sustainability insinuates that approximately 33% of the companies are integrating sustainable practices to improve operational efficiency by reducing costs. 

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Strategizing environmental sustainability for a company

Sustainability Reporting: The Impact of the IoT

IoT is a way to monitor, measure, catalog, and provide actionable insights related to the environment. Managers and businesses may extract valuable insights from IoT based approach. Companies may identify goals, opportunities, real-time data analysis. In this, the IoT-based approach is cost-effective, reliable, and data driven. In short, the approach will optimize operations for your company without compromising on sustainability. 

Improving value chain performance

Integrating sustainability across the value chain is core to how a company functions. The most integral parts of a company’s value chain, i.e., suppliers, customers, and transportation providers, are fundamental to a business’s ecological footprint. The company may use measurement tools like life-cycle assessment, carbon footprinting, and benchmarking to assess the footprint of each component in a supply chain and work accordingly towards its minimization and elimination. 

Improving products and encouraging customers in reducing carbon footprints

Relatively, it is easy for a company to design a new product rather than incorporate sustainability into an existing product. A product development process comprising concept, design, and research and development is essential to evaluate sustainability impacts. Similarly, for an existing product, a company may review and redesign current products. 

Reducing transportation footprint

US Energy Information Administration indicates that transportation represents 28% of the total energy use in the US. To reduce the overall carbon footprint of a company, leading companies are focusing on quantifying their transportation and logistical footprint. 

Setting up publically available sustainability goals. 

In the long run, the sustainable strategy of a company indicates its long-term commitment to environmental protection. In the short run, its sets a few achievable milestones. For public transparency and encouragement, it is important to factor in the inputs of all stakeholders, including the public. 

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Reducing negative impacts of your business on the environment

In his critically acclaimed series the blue planet, David Attenborough places environmental issues at the top of the agenda list. The world is witnessing a striking change in brands’ approach to the market with eco-friendly initiatives to eco-friendlys’ support. We are living in an era of conscious consumerism – marked by social justice and sustainability. Therefore, brands must focus on redressing every component of their supply chain to appeal to the public. 

Business differentiation is strategically setting your company apart from competitors based on various vital elements. In the recent past, these vital elements might be the distribution of networks and price-points. Whereas in the age of conscious consumerism, sustainability is as important as any other factor that differentiates a business from the other. Sustainable differentiation is a long-term goal, imperishable and easily replicable. 

First of all, developing a viable, sustainable plan for your company requires a company to align sustainability goals and company objectives. Secondly, a business must understand potential drivers for change along with identifying motives to encourage all stakeholders. If a business is less dependent on natural resources, it will have higher chances to sustain for a longer duration. 

Green or environmental marketing promotes products and services based on their environmental benefits. A prominent environmental marketing model, The DEPEST model (demographic, economic, political, socio-cultural, and technological), is used commonly for macro environment marketing and assessment. Hence, green marketing is a perfect fit to remodel the existing methodologies.  

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Company’s Diversity and inclusion sustainability

An integral component of sustainability recognizes diversity in a company and unique voices for which people vouch for challenges related to climate change, resource allocation, and population—a corporate sustainability professional looks forward to achieving a more cultivated, inclusive, and equitable environment. 

Steps and organization can take to make it diverse and inclusive.

Be comfortable with discomfort.

To diversify corporate sustainability, one must be willing to step out of one’s comfort zone. Every being must empathize with one another to normalize diversity. Corporate sustainability teams assume the vital role of achieving the company’s diversity and inclusion sustainability goals. 

Investing in the coming generation

Trainee, internship and apprenticeship programs can be utilized to armor the coming generation with a blend of access, exposure, and opportunity. It is a simple yet effective way to make the workplace inclusive and unlock a sustainable future. The program must be created based on the cultural exchange where students are able to gain valuable insights while providing business value. 

Accepting the business case

Presenting a business case is imperative to gain buy-in from your employees. In 2015 Mckinsey published a report, why diversity matters, that measured financial performance against diversity. The results were quite interesting:

Strengthening cultural liaison

In order to reshape the business environment, companies must engage diverse groups outside of their niche community. Adobe Company is an example of a unit that has taken up the challenge of recognizing the value of diversity and inclusivity within teams. The lack of diversity hampers the mainstreaming of sustainability. Bringing cultural liaison into the mainstream would help a company to bridge gaps, strengthening the company’s positive influence. How diversity and inclusion correlates with sustainability

How diversity and inclusion correlates with sustainability

Leaders a diverse setup possess high cultural intelligence to manage diversity without compromising sustainability

In order to make a company sustainable, leaders in a company need to communicate with various diverse groups effectively. They must know how to manage diverse groups as they possess the required cultural acumen to lead large, diversified groups 

Diverse teams build better long term strategies 

Integrating environmental aspects into already existing products is a hard job at hand. It involves extensive rethinking redesigning, revenue, and personal expertise. Mckinsey and company’s report suggested that ethnic and gender-diverse companies are 20% more creative and 35% more likely to outperform homogenous companies. 

How a Diverse and inclusive workplace improve the social and economic impacts of a company?

Cultural diversity at the workplace ensure equity 

Culturally inclusive workplaces ensure that everyone must be given equal opportunity to bolster in their career. The social impact of the company is relatively higher than those that are less diverse. 

The inclusion of people belonging to different backgrounds leads to better decision-making. 

A diverse environment gives people intellectual freedom and psychological safety, giving them the freedom to take independent decisions and risks to improve the company. 

Diversity, in the long run, proves profitable for an organization

According to the research published by Mckinsey, culturally and racially inclusive companies earn 43% more profit than homogenous ones. This trend depicts that the relationship between diversity and revenue is linear. 

Transparent communication is the norm in inclusive companies

Providing safe space and equal opportunities for everyone to grow, diverse and inclusive organizations ensure transparent communication that leads to quality in services and communication. 

Diverse teams deal effectively with challenges to avoid conflicts of interest.

More diversity in a company indicates that difference of opinion is appreciated and all stakeholders have their say in the decision-making processes. Therefore it is easy to develop trust, empathy, and mutual understanding. 

Many organizations want to follow ethical and sustainable measures, but the first step is to make the company’s environment diverse and inclusive. Diversity and inclusion efforts are imperative to contemporary sustainability efforts. They are imperative for companies to be productive and provide efficiency. Diversity and inclusion are the cornerstones of sustainability. 

How to strategize diversity and inclusion for its sustainability?

In the recent survey conducted by Gartner survey, D&I was reported as the most sort-after aspect in talent management priorities’. Organizations prioritizing D&I are achieving substantial results: a 20% increase in organizational inclusion leads to a 6.2% increase in the overall revenue. 

A sustainable D&I approach can be based on the following three recommendations.

Placing employees first

Progressive companies adopt an employee-centric approach from the very beginning. This approach gives them an advantage in building the brand image and business values.  The company must make employees believe that they can directly contribute to organizational success.

Design a metric to calculate overall progress concerning the time

Although leaders may resort to several D&I initiatives, not all ensure inclusion equally across the board. According to Gartner’s survey, almost 85% of the leaders stated D&I was a priority for an organization to grow. Yet only 53% of the companies can enjoy the full application of D&I in its true sense. 

Integrate D&I into talent and business processes

The existing process needs to integrate with the D&I initiative to ensure enduring outcomes. According to Gartner survey, almost 65% of the leaders are using D&I initiatives to mainstream D&I.


Environmental sustainability and D&I initiatives are the way forward for companies to lead in an era of conscious consumerism. It is necessary to keep economic development in unison with sustainable goals by formulating sustainable and enduring strategies. Similarly companies need to integrate socially, culturally and racially diverse groups to become progressive.