Next month, I will be hosting a panel discussion for the Lake Highlands Chamber of Commerce, “What Businesses Need to Know About Sustainability” with the intent of providing businesses an understanding of what sustainable business practices are and why they make financial sense to engrain them in your business plan. Even though I was the one that chose this topic for the March Forum, I can honestly say that going into I thought sustainability was an issue more closely linked with environmental concerns than the overall positioning of how a company sees profits, people and the planet.

However, when I started doing more in-depth research on this topic, I came across a very succinct, yet detailed description of sustainability from the University of North Florida that I would like to share with you in order to provide a better understanding of what sustainable truly is and how it can encompass the entire strategy and culture of a business (both large and small).

University of North Florida – Center for Sustainable Business Practices

A business practice that is economically viable, socially responsible and environmentally friendly is usually regarded as being sustainable. Corporations that include socially responsible and environmentally sound policies as core elements in their growth strategy very often create sustainable economic values.

What is Sustainability?
There are many ways to define sustainability. While there is no universal definition of sustainability, there is broad consensus that sustainability can be viewed as a holistic system, inclusive of nature and man-made, that needs to be regenerative and balanced in order to last a very long period of time. In the business-world, sustainability is viewed as a form of triple-bottom-line reporting system whereby a business enterprise communicates to their stakeholders its:
  • Economic (profit) performance
  • Environmental (planet) performance
  • Social (people) performance

When thinking of sustainability in the future, “holistic” will be one of the key words that I remember and the diagram above that shows sustainability as a cross roads of Profit, People and Planet depicts it well.  Without treating your people (and your customers) right, you certainly can’t have a profitable business.  Without care and stewardship for the environment, you can’t have satisfied customers or employees.  Everything works together to create a sustainable business that can thrive and be both profitable and have a positive impact on the communities they operate in.

Join the Lake Highlands Chamber of Commerce on March 16th at Neighbor’s Casual Kitchen from 7am – 8:15am as we hear from experts on this topic:

And don’t forget, Earth Day Texas is April 21 – 23rd at Fair Park.


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