Why is sustainable entrepreneurship important?
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a hot topic. Maybe you want to prepare your company for environmental taxation or the European Green Deal, or because your customers and/or other stakeholders demand it? No matter how you look at it, for most companies doing nothing is not an option. However, sustainable entrepeneurship is a broad concept and seems rather untangible at first glance. But once you dig into it, this is nog longer true! On average, companies incorporating the CSR-principles are more profitable than others.
What is CSR?
The ISO26000 standard defines corporate social responsibility (CSR) as an organization taking responsibility for the effects of its decisions and activities on society and the environment through transparent and ethical conduct.
Not sure what that means in practice?
Some practical examples of sustainable business practices are:
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Reducing other potentially harmful emissions
Implementation of circularity principles
Use of renewable energy
But CSR also includes:
Stimulating and encouraging diversity
CSR requires companies to create maximum social value which is not in contradiction with profitability. On the contrary. Companies that make a profit can re-invest in their own employees, in safety and prevention, in society in general, in strategic investments for the long term, and so on.
Important stakeholders are increasingly less tolerant of companies that do not integrate CSR. Future-proofing your company is one of the most important drivers for sustainable entrepreneurship
Is Sustainable Entrepreneurship Mandatory?
No, it is not mandatory. But companies that incorporate CSR early are better prepared for the future. By preparing your company now you are able to anticipate upcoming legal obligations, and save costs of for instance: raw materials and GHG emissions. Chances are that the coming sustainability and energy transition will catch many companies off guard. We'll make sure your business doesn't stay behind.
What Is The Added Value?
Energy and sustainability investments often result in savings. By better understanding the system opportunities emerge, resulting in increased productivity and reduced costs.
It makes your company attractive to your own employees, customers and banks. Sustainable entrepeneurship is important for the image of the company. Consumer distrust can be countered by incorporating standardized sustainability frameworks, and transparant communication.
CSR provides a strong competitive advantage. Your services and products become more attractive to consumers. Futhermore, sustainability initiatives are increasingly important in public and non-public tenders.
How do I get started?
Before you start, think carefully about the goals your organization wishes to achieve with its sustainability strategy. Is the focus on certification, energy/emissions savings or PR and communication?
The first step towards a sustainable business is to determine what the most relevant subjects are for your organization. This step is called the materiality analysis, and integrates the goals/targets within the framework of the sustainable development goals.
Next, we need data to evaluate and benchmark against certain standards (GRI, SDGs), and to be able to communicate in a transparant way.
StrategY & actions
In what follows a number of priority actions for sustainability are identified and forged into a sustainability strategy/plan. The strategy describes the objectives and how they will be achieved, and makes sure that the actions are logical and coordinated before you start with the implementation phase.
It is important that communication is a part of every step of the process. An internal and external communication strategy offers direct added value for your company from the start of the process.