Traditionally, a number of companies considered sustainability issues to be outside the wheelhouse of business. However, in today’s times, there is an important business case to be made for sustainability. An increasing number of companies are now embracing the concept of the triple bottom line. Even leading farms in the United States like Hillandale Farms are recognizing that there is room to realize both profits as well as social and environmental benefits. In fact, following a sustainable approach may sometimes bring unexpected business advantages.
Hillandale Farms discusses why businesses should prioritize sustainability
People only realize the importance of a healthy environment and sustainable practices when pollution levels rise alarmingly high. With the increasing impacts of climate change being witnessed across the world, it has become critical for both individuals and businesses to prioritize sustainability. Switching to sustainable energy sources and being more energy efficient can essentially lead to reduced pollution of natural resources such as air, water, and land, and make the environment more suitable for healthy living. As both people and businesses become more conscious in regard to their carbon footprint and impact on the environment, the planet can become healthier for everyone.
Sustainable business practices pave the way for the increased adoption of greener technologies and resources. Today it is vital for businesses to practice environmental stewardship. After all, a large percentage of the modern populace wants their products to be developed sustainably and made from sustainable materials. Many employees also prefer to work for ethical companies. With the growing concerns and awareness related to climate change, a number of investors are also jumping on board and filling their portfolios with companies that follow the key environmental, social, and governance principles.
Traditionally, businesses were known to simply focus on the bottom line or net earnings. However, with the changing times and increasing awareness about sustainable practices, the triple bottom line approach has become much popular. This approach focuses on profit, people, and the planet. In case a business produces and sells a physical product, then analyzing its supply chain may help identify many opportunities to embrace sustainability, such as:
- Sourcing materials responsibly: If a business sources individual components or raw materials from third-party vendors, then it must make it a point to know how those materials are procured. Just the simple act of making sure that these vendors embrace fair-trade agreements can have a lasting impact on the social footprint of a company.
- Reducing consumption of natural resources: Even though it might not be obvious at first, most companies do have major opportunities to reduce the amount of natural resources the business consumes in their daily operations. Hillandale Farms, for instance, has invested in a water treatment facility to handle the water used to wash its eggs in a smart and responsible manner. Through a nitrification/denitrification process, the egg wash water tends to be purified, filtered, and returned to the ground in an environmentally-sustainable way.
Broadly speaking, there are many distinctive paths a business can take to become more socially and environmentally sustainable. The approaches a business chooses to adopt would depend on multiple factors, including the size and structure of the company, as well as specific sustainability goals.