Sustainability as Core Business Strategy
The whole corporate sustainability thing emerged from the idea of ‘doing the right thing’ or ‘social responsibility’ – but a recent trend is to harness sustainability as the core business strategy to drive sales.
- GE: CEO Jeff Immelt has hitched the venerable company’s future to the ‘ecomagination’ programme of sustainable technologies;
- Camira Fabrics: the company sees its sustainability stories as the unique selling point of its products;
- BT: sees its products and services cutting carbon through digitisation;
- Interface: famously, the carpet tile manufacturer talks of little else but sustainability.
This attitude requires a massive mindshift within the business – what was seen as a ‘silo’ activity not only has to spread out across the business, but into the whole value chain. It’s not just about solving your own sustainability issues, but solving those of your customers too.
The one thing you have to watch for is that you still do both – you can’t let yourself off dealing with your own negative impacts just because you are creating such positive impacts for others.