The business world is changing. But I’m guessing you already know that.
As a CEO, you’re probably well aware of the rapidly changing business landscape and feeling the pressure to stay ahead of the curve. You are responsible for profitability, but you’re also responsible for sustainability.
In today’s world, customers and employees care more about how you reach your goals than if you reach them. Sustainable growth is the buzzword, and any company that doesn’t have strategies in place for doing the right things the right way will find themselves with a negative score in the brand identity department. Like it or not, doing business in a sustainable way is directly connected to your bottom line.
You have a lot on your plate already, so issues of sustainability and viability probably fall into the “important but not urgent” category.Dr. Ben Redmond
However, there is wisdom in paying attention to these issues before they suddenly shift into the urgent category and catch you off guard.
So let’s explore a few ways that you can drive sustainable growth and create a positive impact for your business and for the world.
1. The first thing you need are clear sustainability goals.
You probably have goals in place for every other area of your business, so it’s a good idea to set some goals around sustainability issues. These goals should align with your company’s mission/visions/values, but they should be clearly differentiated from your profitability goals. Whether it is goals around product sustainability, increased social responsibility, or developing a plan to reduce carbon emissions – these objectives should serve as a guiding framework for your strategic decision-making.
2. Once you’ve identified your goals, you need to create a culture of sustainability.
As CEO, shaping the culture is one of your most important responsibilities. What does it look like to instill a sustainable culture throughout your company? How can you encourage your employees to take ownership of initiatives that are geared towards improving the sustainability of your business? This might involve training, awareness campaigns, and even recognition for employees who are contributing to sustainable practices.
3. If you create a sustainable culture with clear goals, then you are primed to begin innovating for sustainability.
Encourage your teams to explore and invest in new technologies, products, and services that can ensure your company’s viability into the future. In some cases, disruptive innovation can lead to entirely new revenue streams. Innovation and sustainability go hand in hand, so make sure you’re culture has both.
4. For those of you that rely on a supply chain, it is worth evaluating for environmental and social impact (in addition to profitability).
While your CEO responsibilities might not give you direct involvement in the supply chain, it is still your responsibility to make sure that you have ethical sourcing, responsible manufacturing practices, and efficient logistics. In today’s world, your brand equity and company reputation are often tied to to client’s and customer’s perception of how you handle these issues.
6. Another area to consider is your marketing and branding.
Smart companies are being intentional about how they create alignment between their external image and their sustainability goals. Remember, the cultural shift means that there are an increasing number of potential customers who are looking for eco-friendly and socially responsible brands. If you can increase your reputation as a business that is doing good things in the world AND doing those good things the right way, you’ll attract customers with similar values.
7. All of these efforts will be enhanced by consistent feedback from your stakeholders.
Maintaining open and transparent communication with your customers, employees, investors, and communities is essential to a sustainable reputation.
As the CEO, you have an opportunity to listen to concerns, and incorporate the feedback your receive into your plan. We are living in a “trust” economy, and people are less and less willing to engage with companies they do not trust.Dr. Ben Redmond
Sustainable growth is the future of successful business. You are the leader, and you play a pivotal role in driving this transformation, which is not only beneficial for their organizations but also for the planet and society at large. By setting clear sustainability goals, fostering a culture of sustainability, and embracing innovation, you can lead their companies to a future of responsible, long-term growth. It’s time to take action and be the change-makers the world needs.
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