Issues surrounding sustainability are gaining
Sustainability : environmental and social issues
Executives and managerial staff are working with their stakeholders and focussing more than ever on environmental and social issues. Australian companies are taking the lead in the introduction of initiatives that promote ecological sustainability and enhance social justice issues. These activities are shaping the preferences of shareholders and constituents through their broad appeal and making actions that demonstrate greater accountability and shape better outcomes for communities across a number of issues.
The Australian commitment
At the UN General Assembly in September 2015, The Hon Julie Bishop MP, made a representative national statement endorsing the UN 2030 Agenda that “Australia has taken this commitment seriously”, highlighting some key initiatives, including;
- Partnering with our private sector
- A strong focus on innovation
- A commitment to taking strong action on climate change
- Sustainable management of our land, forests, waterways and marine resources
- Investing in the skills of the Australian people
- Diversifying our economy and increasing productivity
- Promoting gender equality
- Closing the gap on indigenous disadvantage
- Supporting those with disability
- Promoting prosperity and reducing poverty on a sustainable basis in the Indo-Pacific Region
Quality Control & Employee Satisfaction
If Australian organisations can proudly put emphasis and priority on Quality control – surely sustainability is not too far removed from this equation? A strong commitment to a sustainability agenda not only benefits a company’s reputation with their customers, but millennial and environmentally conscious employees are supporting sustainability in their choice of employer, just as consumers do in their choice of products. As each segment starts taking ownership on a personal and professional level, changes becomes contagious.
Sustainability measures driving profit
Also, BlackRock, the largest asset manager in the world recently made the statement that, “Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors relevant to a company’s business can provide essential insights into management effectiveness and thus a company’s long-term prospects.” Profitable business options arise with the creation of new products and services such as food preservation and transport options to address hunger, alternative power sources to combat greenhouse gas emissions and water processing facilities to improve and increase worldwide water supplies.
Understandably, rather than addressing every one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainability Goals, companies will more often be inclined to develop their sustainability efforts in line with their own commercial agendas and priorities. These efforts might include such initiatives as; investment in local economies in which the company operates, rehabilitation for ecosystems potentially affected by operations as well as improved working conditions for local employees. A focus on environmental footprints, as a conscious sustainability step can also be a profitable investment with savings considerations on reduced energy consumption and waste.
A recent Harvard Business Review article highlights the urgency of more decision-makers needing to do the work of assessing the potential business cases and creating executive incentives for sustainability to boost efforts on environmental and social concerns, therefore increasing recognition of sustainability as an important economical issue.
For now it’s important that there is an awareness of how we can all play a part. The role of the United Nations Association of Australia in WA is to localise the sustainable development goals of the UN globally, in order to promote justice, peace, security and sustainable development for current and future generations. To connect West Australians to these common goals is a task that requires step-wise agendas, assistance from Local government and a focus from the business community and the general public.