Organisations are practicing toward building a business which is fair, transparent and responsible. In business operations, the focus on producing more with less is critical for sustainability. ‘More with less’ entails enhancing productivity while maintaining a low emission profile, high water use efficiency and effective waste management.
Most of the businesses are facing challenges related to climate change and impact of resource scarcity. Industries are rapidly adopting a sustainable approach to business and ingraining it into their growth strategies. For customer centric organisations it is mandated for being committed to provide innovative and quality products.
Businesses consider environmental management as a material topic and showing strong commitment towards minimizing their environmental footprint by diligent use of resources such as fuel, electricity, water and raw material. In addition to this, they are also aiming to reduce their carbon footprints by implementing gamut of energy conservation initiatives across all functions including offices and manufacturing facilities.
Businesses understand their responsibility towards the protection and conservation of natural resources while framing sustainability agenda.
Businesses are critically guided by their values, their efforts which are focused on high performance benchmarks, innovative thinking, customer centricity and high level of accountability.
Nowadays, in most of the organisations, sustainability considerations are an integral part of core business systems and decision making.
Businesses also have a proactive sustainability agenda that extends beyond legal compliance and robust programs in the areas such as occupational health and safety, environmental management, community development and talent management under sustainability.
Growth of a company is inter-connected with their consumers, employees and the communities where they operate in. Larger corporations have been continuously working towards providing their employees with a healthy and safe workplace.
Through process risk management, process engineering controls, businesses have also made their processes safer and reduced risks to life and assets. In an effort to make the greatest places to work, organisations have been driving an ownership mindset where their employees feel engaged, connected and motivated towards value creation. They also provide opportunities for continuous learning and professional growth to all employees through a system of meritocracy and equal opportunity.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives help elevate the quality of life of communities that businesses operate in. Corporate CSR programs seek to touch and transform lives by promoting development of rural areas, improvement of quality of education and ensuring requisite healthcare facilities. Social impact extends beyond the ambit of CSR engagements, as businesses extensively engage with their direct consumers depending on their business and contribute to their development.
All Sustainability efforts have been bearing fruit which reflects in their performance as showcased in the Sustainability report.
However, as business progresses on its sustainability journey, the need is to put in place an integrated approach to growth. With this in mind, businesses are in the process of developing a sustainability strategy, displaying their commitment to their key objective of responsible growth.
Corporates are also forming an Apex Sustainability Council to integrate environmental and social considerations in their decision-making process and review their sustainability performance on an on-going basis.
For most of the listed business organisations, the Sustainability Report is a stepping stone for them on a journey towards sustainable growth which ensures strengthened bonds with their stakeholders. For them, the Sustainability Report provides an opportunity to showcase their efforts towards continuous improvement in their economic, environmental and social performance.
Sustainability Reports of India organisations also contain disclosures related to the National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic responsibilities of Business (NVG-SEE) published by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, and Principles of Business Responsibility Reporting (BRR) published by Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Their initiatives are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) released at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in 2015.
Business should ensure the highest standards of ethical and responsible conduct.
(Rusen Kumar writes on CSR, Sustainability, Corporate Governance, Business Affairs and Responsible Business. He is the founder of India CSR Network)
(Photo Source: Doing More With Less | Leadership Development Program – FocusU)