An Essential Stakeholder For A Sustainable Environment And Economy

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2020 was anticipated to be the year of sustainable environmental development. There was a rising demand for concerted and urgent action, along with a suite of international conferences scheduled to refocus global engagement on these main issues. Somehow the goal is being fulfilled due to the global crisis of COVID-19. It took a terrible pandemic for people to realize that our economy, society, and species is part of something bigger which is more holistic, and more powerful. Nature has started healing itself but what happens when the restriction upon humans is lifted?

Nearly half-century ago, after the oil spillage along California’s coast, the first Earth Day was observed, as a peaceful call to focus on the environment. Today, we are in the midst of a pandemic crisis on the 50th Earth Day and it has highlighted the threats we face. We have a contrasting bond with the physical world — both from a natural and man-made viewpoint. There is an urgent need to change the mindset towards the environment if we plan to prosper in the long term. Besides working urgently to counter the current pandemic, collectively people need to work towards lowering carbon emissions; developing more sustainable lifestyles; and, over time, lowering human influence on nature itself. The forthcoming challenges are too vast and too expensive for governments to face alone which makes the role of business leaders more important.

CEOs Aiming Beyond Profits

Business leaders need to consider nature in the way they run the businesses and view business as a steward of a healthier future. Last year, many leading CEOs pledged to take a broader societal role and responsibility through their corporations and stated that they would advocate others to practice the same. This was considered as the inflection point in the modern business landscape. These business leaders said they would form the strategies of their businesses for a wide array of “stakeholders,” including consumers, staff, suppliers, collaborators, societies, and civil society.

These days, the business leaders’ mindset is becoming more holistic, thus encouraging people to invest in the environment—through incorporating environmental sustainability and geospatial knowledge through the strategies. Economists refer to this as “integrating the costs of externalities in business management” and it is now painfully clear that this means that earth itself has to be seen as a vital stakeholder. The good news is that more CEOs are aware that their companies play a vital role in overcoming these challenges and that their business should have a positive impact on society beyond just pursuing profits.

Concrete Corporate Commitments

Today, employees, customers, and other stakeholders can easily identify contributions with ingenuous social impacts. Although more business leaders are needed to advocate for social and environmental issues, there is also a need for investment and concrete corporate commitments. Even executives agree there is a gap between their purpose-driven PR strategies and the action they take to back up those arguments. A study confirmed that about 78% of executives believe that their businesses are failing to deliver on their social intent commitments.

The social impact policy of a company is not only important for its brand identity, but it is also imperative for its ultimate outcome. From an investment perspective, the metrics of an economic, social, and governance (ESG) of an organization are vital. According to research, fund managers unanimously believe that investing in a sustainable environment is not just a trend, it’s here to stay. More investors are utilizing the ESG performance into their decisions, which will affect other results such as long-term productivity, scalability, and market share. That is why CEOs need to find new ways to harness social impact as an agent for social good and transformation of the industry.

Make use of the voice platforms

Given the potential threat of issues such as climate change and social injustice, there is an increasing sense of urgency for businesses to give back to society. This, combined with a lack of urgency seen in the government has shaken the confidence of the public, which is another reason why more people turn to business. Thus, making the responsibility of CEOs to use their voice and platforms to advocate for social causes.

We have witnessed that there is also a change in the mindset of the workforce, as more millennials enter the job market. A study suggests that by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be made up of millennials who are actively looking for businesses that uphold a greater sense of mission. Besides, another study confirmed that 83% of millennials will be more loyal to an organization that helps them contribute to social and environmental problems. Under the light of these developments, the social impact policy of a business – or the lack of it – would inevitably influence the long-term success of the business.

A Cross-Company Approach

Often the CEOs turn over the social responsibility activities of the company to their CSR team. Corporate social responsibility is a long-term profitability table investment, but this does not mean other departments are off the hook when it comes to solving such social issues. The entire organization needs to follow the corporate responsibility and act as the North Star for other departments to ensure the company fulfill its social or sustainable pledge.

This can be incorporated into business methodologies, for instance, take procurement. As more consumers demand companies operate ethically, procurement teams need to make sure that their purchasing practices comply with the broader social priorities of the company. If an organization is committed to preserving the environment, it needs to make sure that it purchases sustainable supply chains from environmentally friendly vendors. Besides screening suppliers, buyers may also procure in their B2B deals from companies that underwrite social impact incentives.

The same can be applied to marketing. CEOs need to turn the talk into action and fulfill their CSR. Simply informing your customer that you’re concerned about a cause isn’t successful, nor is it convincing for advertising. Instead, brands should work with charities that are actively committed to addressing the problem and tell the story of the charity as it relates to its brand.

Global Challenges Require Globally Coordinated Responses

Presently, we are the age of extinction and at the point when irreversible environmental damage could be possible. This makes the time more crucial and we cannot afford to lose pace or focus on environmental care. Even after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, we must understand that the environmental crisis still dawns on us and are supposed to be mended. This experience with the pandemic has surely benefitted the nature and taught humans that it is far better to forestall a global problem when we see it on the horizon rather than dealing with it when it swamps us.

After the crisis has passed, we still have a decade to deliver sustainable environment development and expansion plans for the welfare of the environment. Fatefully, a window of opportunity is opening to ensure that economic recovery plans that countries might adopt to survive the effects of crisis would benefit the business and environment equally. This long-term investment and sustainable economic growth plans should initiate climate projects and environmental change. Today, we need nature more than ever, as a solution, as a resource, for respite and life on Earth. Foreseeing the opportunities emerging from this pandemic which, if apprehended, could result in a more fruitful year ahead. To conclude, pandemic sure did teach us a lesson that if a global problem (like climate change) arises which also threatens the lives of millions of people, then we should listen to the experts and together tackle the problem. Because global challenges require globally coordinated responses.

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BusinessApac shares the latest news and events in the business world and produces well-researched articles to help the readers stay informed of the latest trends. The magazine also promotes enterprises that serve their clients with futuristic offerings and acute integrity.

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West has been driving the business world owing to its developed economies. The leading part of the world is straining to sustain its dominance. However, the other parts of the world, especially Asia Pacific region have been displaying escalating growth in terms of business and technological advancements.

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