Recently McKinsey&Company published the results of their annual global survey on sustainability called “Sustainability’s strategic worth”. The survey shows that sustainability is growing in importance in company strategies around the world.
In addition to the findings of the results of this survey, the strategic worth of sustainability can be made more explicit by addressing what sustainability can contribute to the strategic goals of a company. The most common strategic goals of a company are continuity and long term profit. From a sustainability perspective these goals look great, as long as they acknowledge the “triple bottom line” of Planet, People, Profit. This means that companies take responsibility for the natural resources, take social responsibility and financial responsibility. From a strategic perspective this sounds logical as natural resources, human resources and financial resources are the key production factors for companies, that need to be in compliance with current laws at all times. This can be seen as a minimum requirement for responsibility.
Responsible companies however acknowledge that adding value to the triple bottom line, can also inspire employees to come up with innovative ideas to find ways to lower the impact to the environment, to increase the quality of life and contribute financially on a risk-adjusted basis. This does not only lead to the direct good for the company and it’s employees but it also gives a more indirect reward as it gives more meaning to being an employee in a company. If these innovations lead to a better proposition for clients compared to competitors, one could say that “sustainability is a great strategy”.