The Zen of Business Sustainability to Manage Risk

image: zenZen - Chinese, Ch'an. Buddhism . a Mahayana movement, introduced into china in the 6th century a.d. and into japan in the 12th century, that emphasizes enlightenment for the student by the most direct possible means.

How do business leaders walk the delicate art of transitioning to more sustainable business strategies?  When you think about it, the requirements to maintain a sustainable business today are quite different than they were just ten years ago.   Companies on the leading edge are evaluating the economic, social and environmental impacts that will ultimately affect profitability.  Green business practices are becoming more and more the norm, as companies both large and small realize the value of integrating eco awareness and sustainability concepts into their operations and business strategies.  

With the global business environment rapidly changing, companies not only have to react but must become masterful in their response.  Recognizing the need for change and taking action can get a business on the right track.   In our professional consulting experience, we have determined the key is to identify and implement business sustainability concepts that add value and more importantly stick.  Businesses that take on and master a few select sustainability concepts at a time are better positioned to capture lasting value from their efforts.

While many organizations recognize the ‘softer’ value of sustainability generated by some of the more well known leading companies, few fail to acknowledge the risk of their own inactivity to the bottom line:

•    Increase cost from uncontrolled emissions.

•    Increase cost from measure waste streams.

•    Increase cost from rising energy and uncontrolled consumption.  

•    Increased cost in supply and distribution.

•    Increased cost in from the use of unsustainable materials.

•    Increase cost from tax or regulatory changes.

•    Increase in cost from reactive design, engineering and manufacturing changes.

•    Increased cost from obsolete supply or product.

Business sustainability is often reduced to environmental or social action.  While certainly two very important areas of focus, business sustainability is really about taking action to maintain the on-going health and profitability of the company as a business strategy.  This includes valuing the relationship with the environment and social stakeholders.

Masterful companies recognize that business sustainability is a mind-set change that should be consistent and in alignment with organizational commitment and continuous improvement efforts already in place within the company.  The critical elements to affective implementation include: executive leadership, consistent action, clear communication, and stakeholder engagement.  How is your business mastering the Zen of business sustainability? 

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