Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sustainability

Sustainability – even though the word is now ringing in most of the industrial sectors is not a new concept. 

Since ages India is very well known for its sustainability practices till it was invaded by Greeks, Persians...etc. Ancient Indians always believed in the concept of Lokah Samasta Sukhinobhavantu. Let all worlds be happy.

The meaning of sustainability is to sustain. 

To sustain what?

To sustain as an individual, to sustain as a team, to sustain as an organization and to sustain as a nation. To sustain on all the aspects of Economic, Environmental (also known as ecological) and Social.

With the advent of industrialization and the wrong belief of abundant availability of earthly resources in plenty has lead to a linear exploitation of all its resources; be it water, coal, crude oil, gas…etc.  Even the industrialization was also more in the linear fashion. They never thought of reusing the resources. This not only lead to pollution of atmosphere, soil contamination, water pollution, global warming, melting of glaciers and huge carbon emissions all over the world but also lead to huge reduction of natural resources which in turn lead to deforestation, excessive farming (both agriculture and cattle), consumption of more processed food rather than the natural food and un-natural living.

Most of the fortune 500 companies are eagerly looking at this and trying to conserve resources. 

Environmental or ecological
In case of usage of any earthly resources first rethink before you use it; if possible refuse to use it; if it cannot be done then try to reuse from the already exploited resources; if that is not possible try to reduce the quantity of earthly resources; try to repair the existing resources for re-usage; finally always try to recycle the resources so that whatever you are taking from the environment, you return it back to the environment in a safer way. One of the main corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not to pollute the environment or minimize the pollution to the maximum extent. Dupont which is very well known for its CSR has closed some of its divisions just because of this. CSR does not just mean to provide charity or operating schools, hospitals etc.

Economy
For an industry to survive economy is the main criteria. Without profits no organization can last long. In sustainability the industries try to follow a step-wise growth plan instead of a linear or an exponential growth plan. This approach makes the industry not to be greedy and they never overproduce. Most of these industries follow lean management practices and avoid all kinds of wastage in its resources, be it raw material resources, human resources or skills.  MUDA is the concept which is followed directly or indirectly by these industries apart from JIT, TQM etc.

Social
On the Social front the sustainable industries give value to their employees and empower them. In addition to that they encourage their employees for situational leadership as an individual and as a team. This approach gives a very balanced way of life for the employees so that they can focus on both their professional and personal lives, which in turn raises the satisfaction of the employee and increase the employee morale to greater heights.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has given about 700 indicators for various industry sectors for their sustainability report. These all are based upon the Triple Bottomline (TBL or 3BL) objectives viz., Economic, Environmental and Social. GRI has provided a framework that enables all organizations to measure and report their economic, environmental, social and governance performance which are considered to be the four key areas of sustainability. One can have more information and refer the guidelines for Sustainability reporting on the website at https://www.globalreporting.org.

Conclusion
All industries of various sectors have to come to a common understanding that they can sustain only if the resources are recycled and earth cannot keep on providing in a linear fashion forever.

One most important aspect is that we as present generation are only care takers of this earth so that we hand it over to the next generation safely.

A Sustainable Business Management model is provided for further understanding.


References:
3.    Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability in Business - How Organizations Handle Profits and Social Duties; Edited by Preeta M. Banerjee & Vanita Shastri.
4.    The Triple Bottom Line: Does it All Add Up? Assessing the Sustainability of Business and CSR;  Edited by Adrian Henriques and Julie Richardson.
5.    Stakeholders Theory and Practice by Andrew L. Friedman and Samantha Miles.
6.    Sustainable Development Handbook, 2nd Edition by Stephen A. Roosa, Ph.D.
7.    Sustainable  Development Principles, Frameworks, and Case Studies Edited by Okechukwu Ukaga, Chris Maser and Mike Reichenbach.
8.    Sustainable Development Linking economy, society, environment By Tracey  Strange and Anne Bayley.
9.    Sustainable Value - How the World’s Leading Companies Are Doing Well by Doing Good by Chris Laszlo.
10.  The Business Guide to Sustainability - Practical Strategies and Tools for Organizations, 2nd Edition by Darcy Hitchcock and Marsha Willard



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