Build an integrated Better Business strategy
Sustainability strategy and reporting are still often seen as functional responsibilities, rather than something that is well-integrated in the overall business strategy and business model. However, this is changing. The notion of sustainable business is slowly shifting from the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility, to one that is deeply embedded into the core business.
Patagonia and Unilever offer examples of companies that have integrated sustainability into their cores. For them, sustainability is no longer seen as a ‘separate entity’, something that is just the responsibility of the CSR manager, or as something that has to be included in yearly reporting. Instead, sustainability is deeply integrated into the organisation’s purpose, strategy, business and operating model, and it helps to create strategic competitive advantages.
We believe the era of traditional corporations merely integrating sustainable practices on a shallow level is being overtaken by a new generation of corporations: ones that are actively transforming their markets to make them more sustainable. Instead of waiting for a shift in the market, these companies are creating the shifts to enable new forms of business sustainability. Stanford Social InnovationReview calls this approach "market integration ".
Market integration implies that companies directly address the causes of climate change and create sustainability, for instance, rather than only reducing unsustainability. A market integration approach also entails looking beyond traditional metrics of measuring business success, such as financial performance, to ones that measure social impact, human well-being, and responsibility towards the environment. Furthermore, it involves the optimization of supply chains. And it is also opts for innovative and alternative business models and the integration of sustainable solutions.
If you are still stuck in outdated ideas and in the old ways of Corporate Social Responsibility, it is time to get moving. The world is changing!