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What is a Real Sustainable Company? Part II

An appeal to relevant institutions (including the UN) to rewrite some elements of Sustainability


I raised some issues with respect to Sustainabilitywashing and Sustainabilitywashingcompanies in Part I (https://www.damandevsood.com/post/what-is-a-real-sustainable-company).


In Part II here, I am now expanding my views in three degrees (my View1 to View3).


View1

My view1 is based on various reporting mechanisms that prevail in the world currently, as shown in the table below:

 

This table provides a more detailed breakdown of key parameters for each sustainability reporting mechanism. Please note that the actual reporting may involve specific metrics and indicators based on the organization's industry, size, and other relevant factors. Always refer to the official documentation of each framework for precise guidance.



A major observation is that all reporting mechanisms generally focus on economic, social, and environmental performance of the company (later we will see that there are about 20 to focus on!)

 

View2

 

Business Continuity Management (BCM): Business Continuity is defined as the capability of an organization to continue the delivery of products and services within acceptable time frames at predefined capacity during a disruption. Hence, the process of implementing and maintaining business continuity is called Business Continuity Management. It has Resilience focus - BCM, at its core, is about building resilience - the capacity to absorb shocks and adapt. It ensures that the organization can continue critical functions even in the face of disruptions.

 

Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS): EHS is a set of practical aspects that studies and implements the protection of the environment and the maintenance of health and safety at work. It is what organizations must do to ensure that their activities do not cause harm to anyone.

Personal Resilience: Within EHS, personal resilience is emphasized through health and safety protocols, ensuring employees can adapt to various work environments while maintaining well-being.


Finance: as is clear it deals with the commercial portion of an organization. Financial Resilience includes transparent reporting and adherence to ethical financial practices, and this enables businesses to weather economic uncertainties.


Employee Engagement: Employee engagement is a human resources (HR) concept that measures how much an employee is dedicated to their job and the organization's goals. It is a combination of how employees think, feel, and act, as well as their emotional connection to their work, team, and the organization. Employee engagement fosters personal resilience by creating a positive work culture, ultimately contributing to the organization's overall resilience. An attempt is made by some organisations to measure employee satisfaction as well as employee disaffection (which is also used in countering insider threats).


Resource Optimization and Environmental Management: Resource optimization contributes to both environmental sustainability and organizational resilience by ensuring efficient use of resources.


Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG): ESG principles, when embedded into corporate practices, enhance organizational resilience by aligning business strategies with societal and environmental expectations.


Quality Management Systems (QMS): Quality is a Pillar of Resilience. ISO 9001 ensures that products and services meet customer expectations, contributing to overall resilience in maintaining product and service quality. The attempt is that not only the output product but the input as well as the process are of good quality.


Information Security and Cybersecurity: Robust information security and cybersecurity contribute to IT resilience, safeguarding critical data and systems.

Environmental Management: ISO 14001 provides a structured approach to environmental management, contributing to the resilience of the organization against environmental risks.


Energy Management: ISO 50001 guides organizations in optimizing energy use, contributing to resilience in the face of energy-related challenges.


Some Examples: (easily available from internet – I have not conducted any research, and have not established the authenticity)

 

1.       Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS): Tesla's Drive for Personal and Environmental Resilience


Tesla, the trailblazer in sustainable manufacturing, showcases the fusion of personal and environmental resilience. By prioritizing Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) practices, Tesla not only safeguards its workforce but also ensures the longevity of its operations. This commitment, evident in the adoption of advanced safety measures in manufacturing and emphasis on a healthy work environment, exemplifies the interconnectedness of personal well-being and business sustainability.


2.      Finance: Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan - Navigating Economic Storms


Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan serves as a beacon of financial resilience in the realm of sustainability. By aligning financial goals with social and environmental responsibility, Unilever has weathered economic uncertainties with grace. During the global economic downturn of 2008, the company not only maintained financial stability but continued to thrive, showcasing that sustainable financial practices are integral to enduring economic challenges.


3.       Employee Engagement: Google's Culture of Resilience


Google, renowned for its innovative work culture, stands as a testament to the interplay between employee engagement and organizational resilience. By prioritizing employee satisfaction and fostering a positive work environment, Google cultivates a workforce that adapts seamlessly to challenges. This commitment to employee engagement translates into not only personal resilience but also organizational adaptability in the face of change.


4.      Resource Optimization and Environmental Management: Interface Inc.'s Circular Economy Revolution


Interface Inc., a pioneer in sustainable business practices, embarked on a journey towards resource optimization through the adoption of circular economy principles. By reducing waste and optimizing resources, Interface not only contributes to environmental sustainability but also fortifies its organizational resilience. This commitment has not only elevated the company's environmental stewardship but has positioned it as a resilient force in the face of resource-related challenges.


5.      Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG): Microsoft's Triple-Threaded Resilience


Microsoft, through its commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, has woven a narrative of organizational resilience. By aligning business strategies with societal and environmental expectations, Microsoft attracts socially responsible investors. This not only contributes to financial resilience but also fortifies the organization against the evolving expectations of stakeholders, embodying the essence of ESG-driven resilience.


6.      Quality Management Systems (QMS): Toyota's Quality Resilience


Toyota's unwavering commitment to Quality Management Systems (QMS) has fortified the brand against adversities. During the automotive industry crises and recalls, Toyota's adherence to quality management principles not only preserved its brand reputation but showcased organizational resilience. The commitment to delivering high-quality products contributes not only to customer satisfaction but also safeguards the company against the uncertainties of the market.


7.       Environmental Management: Patagonia's Stewardship for Environmental Resilience


Patagonia, a leading outdoor apparel company, stands as a guardian of environmental resilience. Through its commitment to environmental management practices guided by ISO 14001, Patagonia has navigated the challenges posed by climate change and resource depletion. The integration of sustainable supply chain practices ensures not just environmental stewardship but resilience against the evolving environmental landscape.


8.      Energy Management: Siemens' Energized Resilience


Siemens, a global technology giant, exemplifies resilience through energy management. By adopting ISO 50001 standards and embracing energy-efficient technologies, Siemens not only optimizes energy use but enhances its overall resilience. This commitment not only contributes to sustainability goals but fortifies the organization against energy-related challenges, showcasing the integration of energy management into broader resilience initiatives.

 

View3

It is a natural progress from Risk to Organisational Resilience – which will bring an organization close to being a Sustainable Organization.


A Risk Managing, Learning, and Continually Improving organization is a Resilient Organisation!


ISO 22316 puts 20 elements in Organizational Resilience:

 

Asset Management: Effective asset management ensures optimal resource use, reducing waste and supporting sustainable practices. This contributes to environmental responsibility and financial sustainability.


Business Continuity Management: Ensures uninterrupted operations, minimizing disruptions that could impact the organization's ability to meet its sustainability goals and commitments.


Crisis Management: Swift and effective crisis management protects the organization's reputation, a key element in long-term sustainability. It also minimizes potential environmental and social impacts during crises.


Cyber Security Management: Protects sensitive information, including environmental and social data, fostering stakeholder trust. Cybersecurity is integral to maintaining the integrity of sustainability reports and commitments.


Communications Management: Transparent and effective communication builds trust with stakeholders, ensuring they are well-informed about sustainability efforts and achievements.


Emergency Management: Contribution to Sustainability: Ensures a prompt response to environmental emergencies, mitigating potential harm to ecosystems and communities, aligning with sustainable practices.


Environmental Management: Integrates environmental considerations into organizational practices, aligning business operations with ecological responsibility and long-term sustainability.


Facilities Management: Efficient facilities management supports the organization in

achieving energy efficiency, reducing environmental impact, and promoting sustainable practices.


Financial Control: Sound financial control practices support long-term financial stability, ensuring the organization's ability to invest in sustainable initiatives.


Fraud Control: Effective fraud control protects financial resources, allowing the organization to allocate funds to sustainability initiatives without diversion due to fraudulent activities.


Governance: Robust governance frameworks ensure ethical practices and responsible decision-making, guiding the organization toward sustainable strategies.


Health and Safety Management: Prioritizing health and safety contributes to employee well-being, creating a resilient workforce and supporting the organization's commitment to social sustainability.


Human Resources Management: Effective HR management enhances employee engagement, fostering a resilient workforce that actively participates in and supports the organization's sustainability initiatives.


Information Security Management: Protects sensitive information related to environmental and social impacts, ensuring the integrity of sustainability reporting and commitments.


Information, Communications and Technology: Integrated ICT strategies support operational continuity, enabling the organization to leverage technology for sustainable practices and innovations.


Physical Security Management: Ensures the physical security of assets, protecting against potential environmental harm and contributing to sustainable practices.


Quality Management: Maintaining high-quality standards supports customer satisfaction, loyalty, and the organization's overall reputation for sustainability.


Risk Management: Proactive risk management identifies and addresses threats to sustainability commitments, ensuring the organization's ability to meet environmental, social, and economic goals.


Supply Chain Management: Resilient supply chain practices ensure the availability of resources, promoting sustainable sourcing, reducing environmental impact, and supporting social responsibility.


Strategic Planning: Effective strategic planning aligns organizational goals with sustainability objectives, guiding the organization toward long-term economic, social, and environmental sustainability.


In summary, each domain within Organisational Resilience contributes to sustainability by fostering practices that align with ecological responsibility, social well-being, and long-term economic stability. The interconnectedness of these domains reflects the integrated approach needed for organizations to thrive sustainably in a dynamic and ever-changing business environment.


Here I would like to introduce the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals also.


First impression is that Organisational Resilience supports all those goals. Here, I am attempting to write a few that I believe are closer to Organisational Resilience. I will attempt to put these in order to significance (my views).

 

9.          Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation

 

11.        Sustainable Cities and Communities - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable

 

2.           Zero Hunger – End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

 

6.          Clean Water and Salinization - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

 

7.           Affordable and Clean Energy - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

 

8.          Decent Work and Economic Growth - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

 

12.        Responsible Consumption and Production - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

 

15.        Life on Land - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

 

16.        Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

 

17.        Partnerships for The Goals - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development"

 

14.        Life Below Water – conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

 

1.           No Poverty – end poverty in all its forms, everywhere

 

3.           Good Health and Well-Being – ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

 

4.          Quality Education – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

 

5.           Gender Equality - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

 

10.        Reduce Inequalities - Reduce inequality within and among countries

 

13.        Climate Action - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy

 

Below is an attempt to draw parallels with Organisational Resilience elements and UN’s SDGs.


Asset Management: Associated with SDG Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) by promoting responsible management of resources and reduction of waste.


Business Continuity Management: Aligns with various SDGs, including Goal 1 (No Poverty) by ensuring business continuity for economic stability and Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) by fostering resilient business operations.


Crisis Management: Tied to Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) by mitigating the impact of crises on communities and Goal 13 (Climate Action) by addressing crises related to climate change.


Cyber Security Management: Associated with Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) by securing digital infrastructure and Goal 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) by preventing cyber threats that could disrupt peace.


Communications Management: Aligned with Goal 5 (Gender Equality) by promoting inclusive and effective communication, Goal 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions), and Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) by facilitating transparent and accountable communication.


Emergency Management: Tied to Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) by managing emergencies in urban areas and Goal 13 (Climate Action) by addressing emergencies related to climate change.


Environmental Management: Directly associated with Goal 15 (Life on Land), Goal 14 (Life Below Water), and Goal 13 (Climate Action) by promoting sustainable environmental practices and biodiversity conservation.


Facilities Management: Aligned with Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) by promoting sustainable facilities within urban areas and Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) by optimizing resource use.


Financial Control: Tied to Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) by promoting financial stability for economic growth and Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) by ensuring sound financial infrastructure.


Fraud Control: Associated with Goal 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) by preventing fraud and corruption, contributing to the establishment of just and accountable institutions.


Governance: Aligned with Goal 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) by fostering good governance, accountability, and inclusivity in organizational decision-making.


Health and Safety Management: Directly associated with Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being) by ensuring a safe and healthy workplace for employees.


Human Resources Management: Tied to Goal 5 (Gender Equality) by promoting equal opportunities in the workplace and Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) by ensuring fair employment practices.


Information Security Management: Associated with Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) by securing digital infrastructure and Goal 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) by preventing cyber threats and ensuring information security.


Information, Communications, and Technology: Aligned with Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) by promoting technological innovation and Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) by fostering collaboration through technology.


Physical Security Management: Tied to Goal 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions) by ensuring physical security and stability, contributing to peaceful societies.


Quality Management: Associated with Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) by promoting quality products and services and reducing waste.


Risk Management: Aligned with various SDGs, including Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) by managing risks to economic stability and Goal 15 (Life on Land) by addressing risks to ecosystems.


Supply Chain Management: Tied to Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) by promoting sustainable sourcing and Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) by ensuring fair labor practices in the supply chain.


Strategic Planning: Associated with Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) by aligning strategic plans with sustainable practices and Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) by fostering collaboration through strategic planning.


In summary, each domain from Organisational Resilience contributes to the achievement of multiple SDGs by addressing various economic, social, and environmental aspects. The interconnectedness of these domains reflects the integrated approach required to advance sustainable development globally.

 

CONCLUSION:

This exploration endeavors to unravel the essence of what truly defines a sustainable company in the dynamic landscape of contemporary business. Moving beyond the narrow confines of environmental considerations, we have navigated through a comprehensive tapestry of interconnected systems and domains that collectively shape organizational resilience and sustainability.


The arguments posited throughout the article maintain that a genuine sustainable company extends beyond mere commitments to specific goals or environmental initiatives. Instead, it emerges as an entity that intricately weaves together diverse elements such as Business Continuity Management, Environment, Health, and Safety, Finance, Employee Engagement, and more. The provided examples and case studies serve as tangible evidence, illustrating how each of these components contributes substantively to the overall sustainability and resilience of a company.


By introducing the concept of a maturity assessment tool and emphasizing the characteristics of a "Risk Managing, Learning, and Continually Improving organization," the article reinforces the notion that sustainability is not a static achievement but an ongoing process demanding adaptability and proactive risk mitigation.


In essence, a real sustainable company, as portrayed in this exploration, embodies a holistic and dynamic approach. It is an organization that not only acknowledges the importance of environmental stewardship but integrates a multitude of interconnected systems and domains to fortify its longevity and positive societal influence. The interconnectedness showcased in this comprehensive framework underscores the depth of commitment required for genuine sustainability—a commitment that transcends rhetoric and compliance, guiding businesses towards a resilient and thriving future for generations to come.

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