The concept of sustainability, or sustainable development, is not recent. The world Commission for environment and development (Brundtland Commission), organized by the United Nations, gave a clear definition of it in 1987.
Sustainable development is a development that ensures that the needs of the present generation are met without compromising the possibilities of future generations.
Unfortunately this definition wasn’t followed by a concrete, immediate and global enterprises action. In fact it’s only in the past 10 years that we started becoming aware of the necessity to align ourselves to the principles of sustainability. Today sustainability is a basic and essential requirement for companies in terms of competitivity. he responsability towards the environment increases the image value of every enterprise on the market.
What is meant by sustainability
The concept of sustainability is based on the prudent use of earth’s resources, in order to not exhaust them and ensuring their regeneration. Therefore, development shouldn’t follow the greater exploitation direction, but the one of respect in order to preserve ecosystems. To do so, companies have to appeal to the use of renewable energies and try to make the most of the circular economy principles; which means to recycle as much as possible waste materials. Furthermore, they have to work on the front of respect for workers’ rights and of attention to the production territory. Ensuring therefore that in the various processes of the supply chain there’s no exploitation of the people involved and promote events that give values to the production territory. It’s alsoimportant that enterprises mantain a transparency profile regarding the managing of current projects, creating value in the medium-to-long-term, rather than searching for an immediate return that wouldn’t allow to mantain sustainability principles.
Why companies should focus on sustainability
As already mentioned, sustainability is an essential requirement for companies that want to be competitive on the market. More and more customers consider company’s sustainability as a core value during the purchase. Not only, also employees identify themselves better with a company if it respects work and the environment. This leads to benefits such as productivity increase and positive image growth on the market, consequently growing sales.
To focus on sustainability means to lower costs. For exemple, using renewable energies, or recycling materials as much as possible. This way, the consequent costs reduction will necessarily take to earnings increase.
The conscious consumer questions
Sadly not always companies are what they say they are, sometimes to define oneself as sustainable is about having more visibility and increase sales First of all, a really sustainable enterprise has to, with complete transparency, declare how much sustainable it effectively is. To be 100% sustainable is really hard, admitting is definitely a good way to preserve ethicalintegrity and gain customer trust.
To become a responsible consumer, the customer has to understand some essential information with respect to the companies:
- • Where are the garments made
- • Respect of worker’s right
- • Packaging used for products
- • Electricity used
- • Collection/re-use of waste materials
- • Information about all the materials used in the supply chain
Only answering this questions a consumer will be able to choose the right companies to which rely on and safely shop.
A list of the enterprises that chose the way of sustainability: