What is sustainability or sustainable development?
“…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” –Brundtland Commission 1983
What does this have to do with business?
Sustainable Hamilton Burlington views sustainability as a business strategy that generates lasting economic value through enhanced, responsible social and environmental performance.
The new business paradigm realizes that businesses are interconnected with the social fabric and the natural environment that surrounds them. How they operate, treat their employees, consume resources, and interact with their communities affects the world right outside their doors.
Increasingly, customers, investors, regulators, and the public at large demand that businesses take responsibility for their impact on the environment and on the communities in which they operate. Our new world of instant communication technologies means businesses must be more accountable for these impacts than ever before. Environmental stewardship and social responsibility must become part of the DNA of today’s business.
The Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, Profits
The triple bottom line looks beyond a company’s financial bottom line to its environmental and social performance. The triple bottom line calls on a company to be conscious of its actions and the resulting impact on the world. Progressive companies are aware of these impacts and are working toward improving on them.
Today’s successful businesses are not only more aware – they are accountable. they are measuring their impact on the environment as well as their progress in reducing that impact and driving innovation. They are quantifying their contribution to the communities where they work and live. They are making the triple bottom line their new barometer for success, and in doing so they are discovering a new kind of prosperity – and all the business benefits that come with it.
Here are some of the actions companies can take to practice environmental, social, and economic sustainability:
- Support work/life balance programs (e.g. flexible work hours)
- Recognize the value of a diverse workforce
- Promote employee volunteerism
- Support community initiatives
- Pay a living wage
- Enforce fair labour practices with suppliers as well as in your own company
- Employment creation and skills development
- Invest in your community
- Protect consumers’ health and safety
- Reduce waste
- Improve energy efficiency
- Reduce GHG emissions
- Reduce / eliminate harmful chemicals
- Reduce water usage
- Support your local economy by buying local
- “Green” your supply chain
- Hire local workers
- Support training and scholarship programs