For large investors the issue of sustainability is becoming increasingly important in their investments. On the one hand, this refers to a greater willingness of insurance companies, pension funds, companies or foundations to invest money in sustainable investments at all. On the other hand, the conviction regarding such investments is reflected in the fact that investors would rule out an exit from sustainable investments to 80 percent – reasons for this are close links with the company’s mission statement, but of course also the realization of investing in a future market. In addition, customer demand plays a not insignificant role in such decisions.
Drivers of growth and innovation
What ultimately drives the sustainable growth of a company can be very different. In any case, globalization is an overarching influencing factor, which itself can have an impact on the value chains of medium-sized companies. A driver of innovation – and this does not only mean product innovation, but the entire corporate management including raw material procurement, logistics, distribution, etc. – is therefore the need to reconcile a wide variety of interests in terms of sustainability.
Probably the most difficult step is the strategic realignment, because it requires a departure from old thought patterns on the part of the company. Growth can no longer be achieved, at least in the long term, solely under the motto of profit maximization. Economic, ecological and social added value is required in all areas of the company. Responsible use of resources, fair working conditions, transparent production, social contribution, etc. must be firmly anchored in one’s own company.
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Example: Product Innovation
The “reward” of efforts to create sustainable products is often significant sales growth. Those who optimize their resource consumption, produce with lower CO2 emissions and avoid environmental damage through product disposal provide (potential) customers with reasons for buying their own products.
Example: Production and Logistics
Within the production chain, companies incur a large part of the operating costs. Optimization measures to reduce these costs can in turn be combined with measures in the sense of sustainable management. Especially in the areas of energy, water and wastewater as well as raw materials, a cost reduction can be achieved through increased efficiency. At the same time, the resulting conservation of resources naturally corresponds to the concept of sustainability.
At this point, it should be clear that the opportunities and challenges of sustainable management cannot be easily separated from each other. Nor can the three most important core elements of economic sustainability be separated, as they combine to form a larger whole. Nevertheless, the ecological, economic and social dimensions each have their own requirements, which can be effectively managed with the use of a sustainability platform.