Socially Sustainable Business
Sustainable business, or green business, is an enterprise that has minimal negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society, or economy—a business that strives to meet the triple bottom line. Often, sustainable businesses have progressive environmental and human rights policies. In general, business is described as green if it matches the following four criteria:
1. It incorporates principles of sustainability into each of its business decisions.
2. It supplies environmentally friendly products or services that replaces demand for non-green products and/or services.
3. It is greener than traditional competition.
4. It has made an enduring commitment to environmental principles in its business operations.
A sustainable business is any organization that participates in environmentally friendly or green activities to ensure that all processes, products, and manufacturing activities adequately address current environmental concerns while maintaining a profit. In other words, it is a business that “meets the needs of the present world without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. It is the process of assessing how to design products that will take advantage of the current environmental situation and how well a company’s products perform with renewable resources.
The Brundtland Report emphasized that sustainability is a three-legged stool of people, planet, and profit. Sustainable businesses with the supply chain try to balance all three through the triple-bottom- line concept—using sustainable development and sustainable distribution to affect the environment, business growth, and the society.
A sustainable business must meet customer needs while, at the same time, treating the environment well. To succeed in such an approach, where stakeholder balancing and joint solutions are key, requires a structural approach. One philosophy, that include many different tools and methods, is the concept of Sustainable Enterprise Excellence.
For a business to be truly sustainable, it must sustain not only the necessary environmental resources, but also social resources—including employees, customers (the community), and its reputation.