What exactly is sustainable business?

Corporate social responsibility, also known as sustainable business, is a term that is becoming increasingly popular in modern business. Environmentally and socially responsible business is not only important for the future, it can also be commercially attractive for both new companies and established giants. In this article you can read all about sustainable business.

What is corporate social responsibility (CSR)?

CSR, also known as corporate social responsibility or sustainable business, means that as a company you take into account the socio-ethical and environmental aspects of business operations. As a company you are part of the complete economic cycle of a country. Whether directly or indirectly; companies, governments, financial institutions and families are connected. As a company you not only have commercial objectives, you also have a responsibility towards people and the environment. These sustainable values are included in the so-called 3 Ps: Planet, People, Profit. The Dutch translation of this is the 3 M’s: Human, Environment & Society. Every company can contribute to a positive social impact with these core values.

Sustainable entrepreneurship means first looking at your own impact on the environment, and eventually working towards a positive impact on the entire outside world. As a company you create value on various socio-economic levels. In addition to providing income for your employees, for example, you also provide satisfaction, social interactions and improve the health and well-being of everyone involved within the company. Sustainable enterprise often goes one step further than creating prosperity for the environment. By making sustainability part of business operations, you try to have a global impact.

Why sustainable business?

As a sustainable company you try to take negative externalities into account, or you try to compensate for them. Negative externalities are the results of business operations that are not reflected in a company’s financial statements. Think, for example, of the noise pollution from aircraft in neighbourhoods next to a runway, the CO2 emissions from company cars or the pollution from a river next to a factory. These indirect costs are often paid by the government, and therefore, also out of the pocket of every Dutch citizen. With CSR you take responsibility for these results. At Ecoteers, for example, we offset the effects of our work by planting trees for every 2500 words we write on the web.

The value of corporate social responsibility is at least as great for an organization as it is for society. Sustainable business, for example, ensures better relations between employee and employer. After all, people prefer to work for a company that is strongly committed to its employees and society. It gives companies and employees a stronger sense of responsibility to the outside world. Because of this, a company that does sustainable business will develop a higher employee satisfaction.

In addition, it does a company good to integrate sustainable business into the business goals. A modern mission and vision statement should preferably include one or more sustainable objectives. By including corporate social responsibility in the mission and vision of a company, you root the importance of sustainability in the culture of the company, as it were. As a sustainable organization, you develop value for your employees and other stakeholders to work towards a social impact.

Is CSR mandatory for a company?

No, corporate social responsibility is not an obligation. However, it is possible that within a certain branch you have to comply with certain guidelines. As a company, you will also notice that it can increasingly feel like an obligation to immerse yourself in CSR. From a competitive standpoint, it can be advantageous to distinguish yourself through more sustainable business practices. It could also be that you are just behind the competition by being the only one not yet actively engaged in sustainable business.

Image is also a major motivating factor for sustainable business. Sustainability can be of great value for the image and feel of a company. Polluting companies are considered evil, but sustainable companies exude a certain kindness that creates value for consumers. You can also become part of a network that promotes innovation and renewal of sustainable projects. A good example is the network of MVO Nederland. For more answers to the question: Why is sustainability so important? Click here.

Sustainable business examples at international level

Examples of large sustainable companies include Tony Chocolonely and Starbucks. Tony Chocolonely is known for their fight against slavery in the chocolate industry. The whole business model of this company goes hand in hand with the social impact it wants to have on the world. Starbucks currently owns one of the largest sustainability bonds in the world. These green bonds are used as a way for companies to express their commitment to sustainable business practices. It is also a way of financing environmentally friendly projects. They put a lot of emphasis on supporting and strengthening the community. They are committed to ethical coffee buying and selling, reducing plastic waste and building a fair trade network of cocoa farmers. They also want to hire more refugees.

How are you going to make a difference? Check here how to do socially responsible business in seven steps.

Click here to go to the home page about sustainable business.

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