The Role of Sustainability in Contemporary Business

By | May 15, 2017

Contemporary Business Essay Sample

Contemporary business is not only about profit and loss. An increasing number of businesses realize the necessity and importance of managing social, environmental, and governance issues (McKinsey & Company, 2010). There is a growing awareness that the problems of climate change, resource use, and labor conditions put their limits on traditional business processes (James Cook University, 2016). Sustainability practices are aimed at maintaining the balance between stakeholders’ needs and interests and making a business more ethical, responsible, and efficient. Evidence shows that sustainability positively affects companies by improving their reputation, reducing costs, opening new market opportunities, etc. (Friedman, 2012). In this essay, I aim at describing the types of sustainability practices and exploring benefits they bring to the companies and the society in general.

There is no unified definition of sustainability from the business perspective. Briefly speaking, this term is defined as an approach focused on managing risks and opportunities associated with social, economic, and environmental aspects of a business (Pilot, 2014). It is essentially the ability to use resources responsibly to ensure long-term success and benefit for the business and the community (Hesselbach & Herrmann, 2011). Sustainable business practices include a set of measures and processes. Environmental practices may include prevention of air pollution, green building, the use of renewable energy, waste management, water conservation, etc. These are aimed at preserving natural resources and reducing the negative impact of the business on the environment. Social sustainability practices, in turn, focus on the welfare of employees and the community. They include improving working conditions, volunteering, hiring local people, etc. Finally, governance sustainability practices allow companies to comply with regulations and maintain ethical standards (McKinsey & Company, 2010).

Sustainable business practices are associated with numerous benefits. First, they provide competitive advantage to companies by making them more efficient and improving their reputation and brand name (Oppenheim & Stuchtey, 2015). As people get more environmentally-conscious, they are more likely to choose green companies over those working within the old business framework. Second, a company with a good reputation is more likely to be accepted positively by the local community and has more chances to enter and win the market. Therefore, I would like to add that sustainability is not about the environment exclusively. Rather, it is a conscious and comprehensive approach to the economic, social, and management aspects of the business that benefits all stakeholders.

Friedman, J. (2012, 6 November). 6 business benefits of sustainability. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from

Hesselbach, J., & Herrmann, C. (2011). Glocalized solutions for sustainability in manufacturing: Proceedings of the 18th CIRP International Conference on Life Cycle Engineering, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany, May 2nd – 4th, 2011. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.

James Cook University. (2016). The role of sustainability in a complex business world. Retrieved from

McKinsey & Company. (2010). How companies manage sustainability: McKinsey Global Survey results. Retrieved from

Oppenheim, J., & Stuchtey, M. (2015, 24 September). Like it or not, sustainability is now core to your business. Fortune. Retrieved from

Pilot, M. J. (2014). Driving sustainability to business success: The DS factor management system integration and automation. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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