Put simply, a sustainable business is one that satisfies its present needs without having to compromise the future generations’ ability to satisfy their needs.
But should you really care about sustainability and what could this mean for your business? This is a crucial question you need to answer if you’re planning to start or expand your business, explore a health food franchise opportunity, or if you simply want to ensure that your business stays relevant.
Aside from the definition given above, having a sustainable business means that:
Your business is commercially profitable.
Basically, you can’t expand, much less stay afloat if you don’t have customers. Determine or rethink your value proposition and how your business gives value to customers.
Your business can remain relevant well into the future.
If your business is shall we say, trendy, or depends on limited resources, you might be profitable for a couple of months. But can you remain profitable and for how long? Note that the availability and prices of resources are constantly changing so having a sustainable business model is key.
Your business utilises resources that it could continue to use for years and years to come.
You wouldn’t believe how many businesses conduct activities that are limited by significantly high prices and finite resources. Likewise, some businesses use easily available resources but are harmful to the environment. Cheap and readily available resources might be very appealing but you need to think of the bigger picture and the future, instead of just “the now.”
Your business gives back.
A really sustainable business is a business that gives back as much (or more) as it takes. Instead of simply taking from the environment, your business should in essence just borrow resources and fully intend to replace them. This principle of responsible consumption is something that both consumers and businesses could practice and promote.
The need for a sustainable business model.
There are many ways to approach the sustainability issue, but the most vital and practical one is that responsible and kind businesses will appeal to more customers. And the best thing about this is that most consumers prefer companies and products that are cause-based, which means that you could actually use your sustainability practices as a selling point.
But perhaps money isn’t your only motivator and you’re actually motivated by your desire to do some real good in the world and this is perfectly fine too. Regardless of your motivations, you’ll face consequences and obstacles down the line if your business model isn’t sustainable. There’s a chance that you might not experience them in your lifetime, but don’t you think that it’s only right that future generations benefit from the same opportunities, variety and resources that you’re benefiting from right now?
More importantly, can you really expect consumers to patronise a business that promotes manipulation and waste instead of sustainability? So you see, sustainability isn’t really an option but a necessity.
Bangladesh’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam, told Just Style