Sustainable development is one of the most common topics in the modern business world. Since globalization and modernization concepts are taking over the business world, the world is getting more and more concerned about the sustainability concept.
Sustainable development is a concept that is followed by many business organizations in order to achieve business growth while preserving scarce resources for the use of future generations. It is considered as a principle followed by business organizations to meet human development goals while achieving sustainability. The concept of sustainability development ensures the achievement of the present business needs without compromising the ability to achieve the needs of future generations.
Evolution of Sustainable Development
Achieving business success while maintaining sustainability is a concept that is connected to the industrial revolution. From the latter half of the 19th century, the western business cultures identified that their business activities create a huge impact on the environment and social balance creating unfavorable impacts.
Several ecological and social crises that happened after that have highlighted the need for a new way of doing business while preserving the environment and human well-being. Social crises such as the American banking crisis in 1907, oil shocks in 1973 and 1979, the debt shock of developing countries in 1982, ecological crises such as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 emphasized the importance of continuing businesses in a social and economically friendly way.
This awareness created a major impact on the businesses and many business organizations started to change their business processes and supply chain management systems to ensure sustainability achievement while accomplishing organizational growth. After developing through generations, sustainability development today holds major importance that can decide the success or failure of a business organization. This concept is backed by consumer awareness and eagerness for environmental and social protection. Under the current sustainable development context, there are three main pillars can be identified.
The environmental pillar
This is the pillar that gets the most attention out of all three. Due to the increasing environmental pollution, it has become the responsibility of businesses to conduct their business activities while preserving the environment. Prevention of water, land, air and noise pollution that can cause due to business activities has become a key objective of many business organizations. Since environmental pollution can be a major consequence in manufacturing businesses due to production waste, extra measures have been put in place to ensure managing waste without releasing it to the environment.
One of the main challenges that organizations are facing today related to sustainability is identifying and managing the adverse environmental impact that is created by the production processes.
The social pillar
A business that is planning to achieve sustainable development should put extra attention in creating a better society for the present and future generations to live in. This includes the stakeholders of the business, employees as well as the general public who does not have a connection with the business. For the employees, the business has to concentrate on retention strategies, learning, and development strategies as well as creating positive mental health. For the stakeholders, flexible business connections and favorable growth are necessary.
For the community, the business can give back through sponsorships, fundraising, investments, scholarships, and various corporate social activities.
The economic pillar
This pillar holds special importance in sustainable development. Since the businesses should make a profit to maintain sustainability practices in the business, it is highly important that all other sustainability activities fit under the economic pillar of the business.
The economic pillar helps the business to achieve success in the other two pillars as well. However, it is important for the business to maintain the balance between all three pillars in order to achieve sustainable development.