The CEO of Michelin recently espoused the virtues of Sustainable Capitalism. While I believe he is a brave man for combining those two emotive words, I could also not agree with him more. It is my fundamental belief that to have a truly sustainable business, you cannot just be sustainable in your practices, but you also need to make money and be profitable. This is what we call the double, or triple, bottom line. That is, to be truly sustainable, a business should be good for the environment and/or for society (ideally both), and its solutions should offer so much added value that customers are willing to pay for it. This is the only way to truly sustain yourself as a business.
A business is not static. To survive in the future, it is important to continually invest in research and development, which should come from any profits generated. This, of course, also comes with the caveat that business owners should always be true to their vision and mission, which for us at Ecocoast, is our environmental purpose. We truly believe that we can solve the world’s most pressing marine problems.
Businesses that consider their impact on the environment, and adopt sustainable practices to deliver not only financial value, but also value for the environment and society, will prosper in the future. On the other hand, businesses that keep their heads in the sand and think they can do “business as usual” won’t last. Sustainable business is smart business.
Earlier this year, we launched our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Framework. This framework is fundamental to our internal and external processes, and brings us one step closer to being a sustainable business. While environmental protection is critical to what we do, as is good governance, the framework importantly also focuses on people, ecosystem, material and community sustainability. Examples of some small steps that can be taken are:
- Education & Empowerment – An educated, skilled and empowered workforce is the greatest value any business can have. At Ecocoast, we have Ecolife, which is our programme for creating a sustainable future for our people.
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programs – Encourage employees to join external volunteer programs throughout the year. We developed a calendar that helps sharpen the company’s focus on sustainability activities, not only to raise environmental awareness, but also to ensure employees get a deeper understanding of sustainability, and in particular, an increased sensibility towards sustainability. We endorse and subscribe to a number of programmes that work to drive positive change and create a better coastal and marine environment, to make a difference in the communities we live and work.
- Recycling – partner with responsible vendors within the industry to ensure proper management of waste by implementing best practices and processes to recycle products and materials. Always look for opportunities to maximise waste diversion.
Any opinions expressed here are the author’s own.
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© Opinion 2019