In recent years, many firms across the globe have aspired toward a future in which sustainability is a key consideration within their business model. However, in order to make this a reality, it is important that companies address all of the pitfalls that can occur as well as look at the external factors which contribute to this.
On Friday 21st September 2012, Randstad managing director of human resources Marielle de Macker spoke at the 28th INSEAD Sustainability Executive Roundtable at INSEAD Europe Campus in Fontainebleau, France, and told attendees that it is important that firms see the benefit of training and education, as well as dealing with leadership development in house to make sure that sustainability across the full spectrum of a company is achieved.
The issue of sustainability in a business revolves around "balancing social, environmental, and economic factors for short- and long-term performance," according to the Silberman College of Business, Fairleigh Dickinson University.
One of the main challenges, Ms de Macker said, in making sure that the company as a whole is working towards a goal centering around sustainability, is to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
George Dyer and Michelle McKay of Aedi Group echoed this in their white paper, when they said that it is the case that people within a company want to see the way they think personally and professionally aligned, which means that companies must have a way of thinking from top to bottom that makes sure that everyone is on the same page.
In terms of within the company itself, Ms de Macker told the roundtable that there are a number of ways it can be made a reality, by focusing on a number of key points. These include the likes of optimal workforces for clients, the best jobs for candidates, the employer of choice for workers, and expertise for a better society.
At a company level, though, there are a number of different issues to look at for sustainable growth. For example, it can be important to make sure that a responsible supply chain is achieved by using firms which adhere to certain standards on carbon emissions among other things.
She said that firms can also help make sure that they are being responsible by making sure that they are using efficient energy measures, as well as those which can be renewable. This can include such small measures as buying in recycled paper, right up to the use of solar power and wind energy.
By doing these things, it is far easier to get members of staff on board with the idea, as they look at the social benefits that are brought about by these changes within the business that they are working for.
She also outlined that there are KPIs (key performance indicators) that exist around this point to make sure that the company is going about the job at hand correctly. These include the likes of ensuring there is a decent level of people within the firm trained on sustainable issues, as well as putting tools for measurement in place to make sure that firms are performing as well as they could with these issues.
Posted by Alex Donnell