Is environmental sustainability in business just a fad that we are going through as we try to make this world better for our children and grand-children? The answer is no, but not for the reasons that you may think. There are many reasons why sustainability and business will go hand in hand for years to come and here are two of them:
1. Sustainability saves money - when looking at your company's supply chain and making it more sustainable, the improvements that you make will have a positive impact on your company's bottom line. When looking to increase fill rates of trucks or reduce logistics costs or source from suppliers that use recyclable materials or reduce your packaging size, you are saving money. These actions result in reduced fuel usage, reduced power consumption, reduced waste disposal costs and the opportunity to find more cost effective methods of travel (rail vs air, etc.). It almost seems as though sustainability is really only a byproduct of running an efficient supply chain.
2. Sustainability as a competitive advantage - customers and consumers are now looking for products that are made from recyclable materials and companies that have no carbon footprint. Using environmental considerations as a part of buying criteria is only in its infancy for consumers and organizations. As this develops and becomes ingrained in our decision-making processes, it will only increase the desire for sustainable products and encourage more companies to dive in, whether to stay ahead of the game or only to catch up.
It is still a few years until the corporate decision-making paradigm shifts to having tangible environmental criteria built into it, but all signs are that the way we make decisions now is not the way that we will make them in the future. I suppose this is a good thing because we are shifting (or evolving) as our world evolves.