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Business sustainability is rapidly gaining widespread recognition in the corporate world. Despite the relative novelty and the existence of barriers to its adoption, sustainable practices offer several advantages for businesses. The following paper provides an overview of the main components of business sustainability, outlines its main impacts for the organizations, and offers an example of sustainability concept adaptation from the UAE.
In broad terms, business sustainability is a process of adjusting business operations to synchronize them in several domains to achieve stability and resilience to adverse external impacts. The most commonly recognized domains, also known as pillars of sustainability, represent the environmental, social, and economic aspects of business operations. The environmental pillar represents the attempts to minimize the organizational impact on the environment both directly and indirectly (e.g. carbon emissions, waste, and responsible choice of partners).
The social pillar ensures the fair treatment of the involved stakeholders, such as customers, employees, and members of local communities. Finally, the economic pillar involves maintaining profitability without compromising the goals set by the other two pillars. Simply put, it ensures that the business remains healthy and closely integrated with the interests and values of all the involved parties.
Despite the apparent presence of necessary expenses, the long-term impacts of business sustainability on the organization are generally favorable. First, the recognition of the environmental impacts ensures compliance with numerous environmental regulations and improves the chances of timely adaptation to the ones that may emerge in the future. Second, waste-reduction practices open up the possibility of improving performance through the involvement of innovative technical and technological solutions. Third, both the environmental and social enhancements usually result in the increased productivity and efficiency of the operations, and, in the long run, decrease the amount of the required resources. Fourth, the properly executed and communicated social responsibilities will attract both employees and investors and will increase the engagement and satisfaction of the existing ones, contributing to employee retention. Fifth, sustainability is an appealing concept in the contemporary customers’ consciousness, which means that sustainable businesses will attract more attention, thus improving the corporate image and eventually getting a competitive advantage (Grichan Partnership).
It should be noted that the described benefits are mostly observed in the long run and are sometimes preceded by necessary expenses, which discourages the decision-makers.
Sustainability quickly gains relevance in both the developed and developing economies. In such a setting, the UAE businesses are gradually adopting sustainable practices. A good example of such development is TNT Express UAE, an international courier service. The company has integrated numerous decisions aimed at reducing waste. For instance, the vehicles used by TNT run on the B5 biodiesel engine, a variety capable of using biological fuel.
In the case of TNT express, vehicles run on fuel containing 5 percent of used cooking oil. Such mixture not only alleviates the problem of used oil requiring disposal but also reduces carbon imprint in comparison to conventional diesel (“TNT Express”). The company also constantly monitors its carbon emissions to ensure compliance with the set goals of systematically decreasing the carbon imprint (“TNT Express”). Also, it offers several CO2 services aimed at providing the customers with means of reducing their carbon imprint (TNT). Finally, the company provides employee training that promotes energy-efficient driving, which is an excellent example of synchronizing social and environmental pillars.
Despite being in the early development stage, the concept of sustainability is both relevant and beneficial for the modern corporate domain. Its advantages include resilience, efficiency, stakeholder engagement, and corporate image improvements. Despite possible challenges, it would be reasonable for the organizations to look into its adoption as soon as possible to retain competitive advantage and increase long-term profitability.
Grichan Partnership. “The advantages of a sustainable business.” National Business Awards. 2015. Web.
“TNT Express Powers UAE Vehicles with Used Cooking Oil.” Post&Parcel. 2012. Web.
TNT. “Corporate Responsibility.” TNT, n.d. Web.