Recent years have seen increasing concern about environmental issues in the running of businesses and organisations, particularly in areas such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, procurement, pollution, waste, energy and water use, transport issues, biodiversity, and the use of natural resources.
Many of these concerns are addressed by regulations aimed at reducing the environmental impacts of organisations and achieving government sustainability targets.
There are various best practices that can help promote sustainability in a business, including the following.
- Integrating sustainability into a strategy, mission statements and values.
- Involving all interested parties in developing policies, including employees, managers, customers, and the public. Engagement is about effective marketing, as well as finding common ground, potential areas of opposition, and making decisions jointly with stakeholders.
- Developing transparency and non-financial reporting to measure, control and publicise sustainable development.
- Using environmental management systems and other standards to embed structures and processes into organisations that will reduce environmental impacts and improve business performance.
- Using methods such as lifecycle analysis to systematically measure the social and environmental impact of products and services.
It is important that business is engaged in the sustainability agenda and have the skills and knowledge to fully understand the complexities of their sector and opportunities that sustainability can offer, as well as the risks that unsustainable practices can lead to.
Increasingly, firms are realising the scale of the challenges. In the 2020 version of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, environmental challenges dominated the top 10 risks identified by business leaders, academics, and NGOs
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