Businesses have realized the importance of shifting their focus towards creating and influencing a more sustainable future – environmentally, socially and economically. Businesses can be a force for good.
Many people could argue that the majority of businesses do more harm than good, mainly due to a lack of sustainable practices and goals. However, in recent years, more and more companies have started to take creating a sustainable future more seriously and commit to becoming contributors to this lengthy and complex process.
What’s more, investors’ behavior has also changed. They are now more focused on Environmental, Social, Governance or ESG non-financial factors when analyzing different companies before investing in them. This aspect has become increasingly critical and has taken precedence over other elements investors look at before making any decisions. It translates into how dedicated a company is to become more sustainable by reducing its negative impact on the environment, being socially responsible, creating a healthy company culture, and adopting ethical work standards.
As mentioned earlier, investors take these factors very seriously when analyzing a company. Based on these non-financial yet utterly important factors, they can identify risks or growth opportunities and make a better-informed decision on whether they want to invest or not. For this reason, if you have a company or wish to start a business, focusing on ESG is of the utmost importance.
The type of companies that aim to be a force for good usually use the steward ownership paradigm. This philosophy is based on the fact that profits are a means to an end, instead of the traditional model, which sees profits as the end result, the ultimate goal a company should have. But when you see your company’s revenue as a means to an end, it gives you a higher purpose, which can be reinvesting in the business to see it grow and expand its operations to do good in the society, donate to charities or repay the investors who helped the company and supported its growth.
So, if you plan on starting your own business, you should seriously consider building a company and a workplace that puts sustainability first. This means promoting and focusing on sustainable investments, social and environmental aspects and creating a healthy, ethical and responsible culture. But how do you start building a business that is a force for good?
Here’s what you should consider if you want to create and grow a company in this direction:
1. Be Transparent Within Your Business’ CSR Program
Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is a program consisting of practices and policies companies implement within their business models to show their intention and commitment to positively impacting the world from a social, economic, and environmental perspective.
An increasing number of consumers value companies on how effective and authentic their CSR programs are. Because there is a lot of skepticism in this regard, businesses must be very transparent with their CSR practices and truly show these are part of the company’s core values and aren’t just a method of improving their brand image but a genuine belief and a true commitment to have a better impact on the environment and the society.
2. Take Good Care of Your Stakeholders to Strengthen Your Work Relationship
A company’s stakeholders are crucial for a business. Their focus is on seeing the company do well and grow to provide more high-quality products and excellent customer service. Internal stakeholders consist of the team members, employees and even shareholders, so people who want to see the business being profitable but are also driven by finalizing projects successfully and supporting the company’s growth.
External stakeholders are the customers, supplies or end-users. You can increase their loyalty and strengthen their connection with the business by being committed to providing top-notch customer services, high-quality products or services, and continuing a mutually beneficial partnership.
But to have a strong relationship with your stakeholders, you must take good care of them and focus on maintaining open and transparent communication at all times. Managing this can be a complex process, given it is crucial you track and report any changes to be implemented in the company. For this reason, it is highly recommended to have solid equity management in place. To do this, you may want to make use of a software tool where you and your stakeholders can have access to important documents and keep track of the company’s performance.
3. Think About What Matters Most and The Greater Good
To build a socially and environmentally sustainable business that is regarded as a force for good is no longer a fad; it has become a necessity. The world and global economy are in urgent need of a positive change, and companies that think about the greater good can truly be the change necessary.
For this reason, if you want to build such a business, you must think about what matters most and incorporate this within your company culture through its core values. This is what consumers and employees look for these days, and this aspect will only be better solidified in the future. Therefore, implementing all-encompassing – environmental, social and economic – sustainability measures is crucial.
This can be accomplished by becoming a greener business, putting together a transparent and solid CSR program and seeing revenue as a means to keep doing good are effective methods for building a company for today’s consumer, a company the world needs right now.
4. Generate Profits to Make Sustainable Investments in Return
As mentioned earlier, one of the ways in which you can build and run a business that is an example of sustainable and socially-responsible enterprises is by making sustainable investments.
When you stop seeing profits as the end result and start seeing the company’s revenue as an effective method to continue to be a force for good, your business goals and mission change, they become driven by the greater good – to build and contribute to a more sustainable future and global economy.
The profits your company generates could be used to invest in other companies that are committed to becoming socially and environmentally sustainable or invest back in your own to support its development.