Business Sustainability: Definition & Concept

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  • 0:03 What Is Sustainability?
  • 1:01 Practicing Sustainability
  • 1:19 Financial Concerns
  • 1:48 Environmental Concerns
  • 2:17 Social Concerns
  • 3:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Donna Swarthout
Business success today depends not only on corporate earnings, but on a company's broader impact on people and the environment. Learn about the meaning and types of business sustainability in this lesson.

What Is Sustainability?

Do you make purchases from companies that claim to produce green or environmentally friendly products? Perhaps you drink certified organic coffee or send greeting cards made from recycled paper. For many businesses, going 'green' is a lot more than a popular trend. It's part of a strategy to improve business sustainability, meaning they're seeking to minimize negative environmental and social impacts and ensure that future generations will have adequate resources to meet their needs.

Sustainable businesses are not just good stewards of the environment; they're also well-positioned to succeed in the competitive global marketplace. Today's investors, consumers, and even job seekers pay attention to a company's reputation for social and environmental responsibility. Companies that refrain from sustainable practices risk losing part of their target market. The media plays an important role in the sustainability movement by letting us know when business practices cause harm to humans and the environment.

Practicing Sustainability

Business sustainability requires visionary leaders who look at more than just the 'bottom line' of a company's financial position. They adopt managerial strategies that integrate financial, environmental, and social concerns. Let's take a closer look at each of these key areas of business sustainability.

Financial Concerns

First, companies must consider financial concerns. Sustainable businesses take a long-term view of profitability. They avoid decisions that increase profits at the expense of environmental damage, employee morale, and customer loyalty. They find ways to meet shareholder expectations while still meeting the needs of workers, consumers, and other stakeholders. A sustainable business recognizes the need for investments in sound procedures and operations that will avoid even bigger costs down the road.

Environmental Concerns

Environmental concerns are also to be considered. Environmentally friendly products are just part of a green business model. Sustainable businesses make green initiatives part of their overall corporate culture. They not only take a green approach to production and distribution of goods and services, but also follow green practices in their daily operations. Many employees now work in offices designed with recycled materials and rely on paper-less communication methods to conserve resources.

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