What does it mean to be a sustainable company?
The global development model pursued so far is no longer sustainable. This has been sanctioned by the UN in the document that answers to the name of Global Agenda for Sustainable Development. All the member countries of the international organization took part in a council that approved the2030 Agenda on 25/09/2015. The focus is on environmental, economic and social sustainability. The goal is to promulgate a cross-cutting operational model focused on these themes.
The 2030 Agenda is a document edited by the UN that addresses the issue of sustainability and identifies an operational vademecum to be administered to governments and companies. The program highlights 17 goals to which each member country should aim, and includes a set of over 200 indicators to periodically evaluate the work of each country. The acronym SDGs indicates the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the Council and commits States on various fronts:
- Making theeducation and the health system.
- Assume as central the care for the environment and take an active part in the fight against climate change.
- Promote social equality, eliminate poverty and hunger in the world . Build strong and proactive partnerships between Member States around the issues in focus.
The ball passes from governments to individual citizensthrough institutions and companies at all levels. Each country has an obligation to develop a sustainable development strategy, taking into account its own needs and capabilities.
Businesses have a key role to play in such a framework: they have to be the bearers of a revolution in the way they think about business in the light of the values shared in the 2030 Agenda. In addition to the radical philosophical upheaval that concerns business forms and methods, companies must actively and proactively pursue sustainability goals. In short companies must become sustainable in their vision and operationsCompanies must become sustainable in their vision and operations, transferring these values to their workers, and incorporating the paradigm into their business model. Organizations should aim for sustainability of the entire supply chain Organizations should focus on the sustainability of the entire supply chain, from suppliers and processing to storage and delivery. Respect for human rights will also be promoted: internally towards employees, externally towards the entire supply chain. To become sustainable, corporate organizations must also adopt management policies that are strongly focused on proactivity among stakeholders.
The challenge is played out on several levels, and touches the corporate ecosystem in every aspect. The organization must orient its choices towards innovation, and transfer these values to all stakeholders in a transparent and inclusive manner. In the strategic choices, both the typical elements of the business and their economic, environmental and social impact on the population will have to be weighed. The value generated is no longer seen as the mere pursuit of profit from the capital gains of plants, investment strategies and workforce. Within the core business, attention to the socio-economic development of all the people involved in the life and choices of the company will take a prominent place. Everyone will be taken into account: from employees to contractors, from suppliers to anyone living in the resulting induced activities. The company's actions must have as their objective not only the creation of business, but also the care of the environment, the social fabric, and the development of the area in which it is located. A small but effective example of socially sustainable enterprise comes from some large groups in the clothing sector. We can already see television commercials promoting models of physicality and sexual orientation that until recently were opposed by common feeling.What sustainability?
Choices will have to be taken from the top, and involve the entire organizational chart corporate structure. The inspirational principles of the 2030 Agenda must be shared and transferred to every level, from the management team downwards. The decisions strategic and operational decisions will be inspired by the SDGsand will primarily involve the sustainability of the products or services provided by the company.
The paradigm will have to influence the entire production cycle, with the focus placed on the way of operating of the organization. At an environmental level, for example, we will work towards an extreme optimization of resources. Less waste, less pollution, less waste are just the tip of the iceberg. The production cycle will also be aimed at researching new practices that allow the development of the wider context in which the company operates.
The inspiring principle is the conviction that the New Deal of the 2030 Agenda acts as a driving force for horizontal innovation at technological, environmental and socio-cultural level, on a global scale. The stated objective is the establishment of a welfare based on visions oriented towards equality and the common good. A push for wealth that comes from belowwhere wealth will be understood in the round, and not only as a natural expression of business.