The only way to operate for some but just another buzzword for others, the concept of sustainable business is often hotly contested, with some seeing it as the ultimate business goal and others viewing it as a pointless impediment to business growth.
Business sustainability is a term that’s often confused and when that occurs it takes on meanings that make it difficult for people to agree on what it is. Here are several definitions of business sustainability from different sources that highlight that point.
- The management of environmental, financial and social concerns and demands to ensure ethical, responsible and successful operations
- Operating in a way that has minimal negative impact on the environment
- Operating, enduring and surviving in an environment in the long-term
These definitions are different and not only with regard to wording. But at the heart of each lies the same concept – business sustainability is about operating in a socially, financially and environmentally sound manner that enables the business to continue to grow and enjoy success in the long-term. It therefore entails placing emphasis on long-term goals in the future rather than emphasising the need for short-term profits.
By nature, all businesses can operate more sustainably since processes that enable businesses to operate in a responsible manner are generally easy to implement. When you look at your business operations with the aim of operating in a more sustainable manner, you’ll surely find many areas that can be greatly improved upon.
Chances are some of these areas will require financial development, i.e. you’ll need to invest in infrastructure, training or make a switch to new products to operate more sustainably. Naturally, there are costs involved here, but there are many benefits.
- Increased competitive advantage through brand enhancement
- Better employee retention and greater recruitment prospects
- Reduced operational overheads and increased productivity
These are excellent benefits for any business and you can start operating more sustainably by gradually implementing small measures that reduce your carbon footprint, increase resource productivity and minimise waste, transition to clean sources of energy, and make your suppliers more responsible for their actions.
Outsourcing and Sustainability
Outsourcing isn’t necessarily a means in itself of operating in a more sustainable manner, but outsourcing certain processes can actually aid business sustainability. For example, should you outsource your call handling needs to Netcall Solutions, you’ll not only deliver better customer experiences and ensure you never miss a call again, but your business will also operate in a greener, more sustainable way by:
- Reducing the amount of traffic on the road
- Using less energy at your place of business
- Producing less waste by hiring fewer employees
These are three excellent environmental benefits, but what about business benefits? As mentioned above, outsourcing your call handling needs to Netcall Solutions helps you deliver better customer experiences and ensures those important phone calls are never missed and they’re always answered politely and professionally.
But you’ll also find that your employees are better able to focus on their work and they’re more satisfied in your employment, that you’re no longer so reliant on fulltime staff, that you don’t have to stress about hiring more staff for seasonal demands, and that your business is able to operate more economically as a result.
Business sustainability isn’t only about environmental responsibility, it’s also about social and financial responsibility. Consequently, by enhancing employee satisfaction and operating more economically, you’re meeting that ‘triple bottom line’ – TBL or 3BL – framework, which is environmental, financial and social, or as some know it, the ‘Three Ps’ – Planet, Profit and People, the ‘three pillars of sustainability’.
The knock-on effect from this is creating long-term value for your business. That also has many outstanding business benefits that are well-worth aiming for, including:
- Greater long-term growth that delivers better profitability prospects
- Enhanced ability to withstand recessions and economic downturns
- Improved appeal to environmentally conscious consumers
The last point is a particularly important one for all businesses, after all, the amount of money dedicated to enhancing product and service appeal through a variety of advertising and marketing methods is phenomenal.
However, by better appealing to increasingly environmentally conscious consumers by way of operating greener and more sustainably, businesses wouldn’t need to dedicate as much to advertising and marketing because consumers would prioritise their products and services over others simply because they’re greener and more sustainable. That’s a trend savvy businesses have been quick to take advantage of.
Buying Green, Using Green – Green Procurement Programs
A commonly overlooked area of operating more sustainably is the implementation of green procurement programs. A number of major businesses have been quick to implement these programs because they’re increasingly seen as an effective means of operating in a greener, more environmentally friendly way.
This also has the effect of helping other businesses operate more sustainably by providing them with the impetus to go green because it makes their products and services more appealing and that in turn increases their sales and profits.
- Ask your suppliers for the most environmentally friendly products
- Prioritise suppliers who adhere to environmentally friendly practices
- Keep tabs on suppliers and switch to other suppliers if necessary
Many businesses have attempted to operate in a greener, more environmentally friendly and sustainable manner but have been held back by their suppliers. What’s more, many major companies have had their reputations tarnished because they’ve used suppliers whose operations aren’t remotely green or environmentally friendly.
Implementing a green procurement program can therefore be seen as making a genuine commitment to operating sustainably as well as a risk-mitigation strategy that protects your business from the actions your suppliers choose to take.
Your business can operate more sustainably by implementing a green procurement program and by astute outsourcing, the two methods discussed here of operating in a greener, more environmentally friendly manner that meets the triple bottom line framework of three parts – environmental, financial and social. To operate greener, more cost effectively, and keep your valued employees satisfied at work, get in touch with Netcall Solutions today to discuss your call handling needs and requirements.