In recent times, “Sustainability” has been the buzz word. Its important to understand what this buzz is all about, before we dive deep into the subject. In 1987, the United Nations Brundtland Commission defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. We are consuming resources at a much faster rate than replenishing it back. Sustainability will be part of our lifestyle only when we understand the correlation of people ,planet and prosperity. Sustainability can be achieved only if we embed it with our social and entrepreneurial goals.
Although 90% of executives think sustainability is important, only 60% have a sustainability strategy. Often, companies that speak of being sustainable are lacking when it comes to implementation. So, the million dollar question is how to include sustainability while achieving social and entrepreneurial goals? If its difficult for giant companies to attain sustainability, then how easy would it be for MSME’s? But its not impossible if baby steps are taken in right direction to bring the positive change that is much needed for saving our environment and planet.
5 Mantras to include Sustainability keeping our Social and Entrepreneurial goals intact.
Introduce the concept of Sustainability in Schools and Colleges
Young minds are easy to mould and the best way to raise a environmental conscious generation. To introduce sustainability, its important to teach children from tender age the concept as well as its implementation in real life through practices. Schools and colleges can lay the foundation in young minds through courses.
One can witness the positive change and recently I came across a 12 yr old teenager, Anandita sharing her views on conscious living and has also done a course on “know your plastic” by RNisarg Foundation. You can hear her views on “The Green Podcast” by Panchtatwa girl on spotify.
Millennials are the largest generation of the population. But Generation Z is soon to become the next dominant generation and is equally concerned about sustainability than millennials. Its essential to introduce such courses at school level to raise a conscious generation to have a different outlook towards life and the environment around them.
By Embedding Sustainability into Entrepreneurship models
Today, though companies speak about sustainability very few embed it in their business models and corporate governance. Many corporate leaders are becoming aware of the need to reuse and recycle and are moving toward the circular economy. Its a huge area for growth as well with the renewable energy market expected to be $2.15 trillion by 2025.
Apple has committed to become 100% carbon neutral for its product and supply chain by 2030. Companies that embed sustainability into their business models and corporate governance can have a lasting competitive advantage and can add brand value. If big wigs of corporate world can be committed, entrepreneurs too can incorporate sustainability while designing their products and services.
One such example can be seen in eatery joints and food outlets where they have started providing takeaways in paper packaging boxes with wooden cutlery rather plastic ones. Such practices should be encouraged across the food industry and should be mandatory. This will also help other MSMEs grow which are involved in producing wooden and disposable cutlery.
Companies have to be more transparent
When Puma published data on the water used and carbon emitted through its supply chain, it helped identify to reduce water, energy and fuel consumption by 60 %. Being sustainable can also improve relations with the government and the local community. It can get the company tax incentives and subsidies.
Innovation and Creativity can open doors to Sustainability
Surprisingly, the world produces about 300 million tons of plastic waste every year. Most of the littered plastic either ends up in landfills or are being carried away by the rivers to the ocean. Thanks, to fashion industry that have come with innovations and are recycling plastic waste into fiber and then to fabric. The recycled plastic fiber coming from waste helps to produce apparels, footwears and sports wear which is equally fashionable and sustainable. The journey from fiber to fashion that fashion industry has brought in reduces carbon emission by 54% and energy consumption by 50%. More entrepreneurs need to come up with such innovations to bring in sustainability apart from profit goals.
Many Indian entrepreneurs have contributed to”Fiber to Fashion“. To name a few are Alcis sports, Doodlage, Eco wings and many more.
Providing Alluring Incentives and Benefits to MSME for Adopting Sustainable Strategies
Apart from providing subsidies and easy loan schemes for MSME. Government should encourage this sector by providing them additional benefits if their products and services adopts sustainable strategies. Entrepreneurs will come forward with sustainable products and strategies only when they would be rewarded. Benefits and incentives provided by government will motivate entrepreneurs to adopt sustainable strategies.
MSMEs are the backbone of Indian economy and have contributed immensely to the country’s socio-economic development. If sustainability is included in this sector, it will slowly and steadily get included to the larger sector of Indian economy. So, its very important that Government should encourage this sector to include sustainability.
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This post is also a part of #causeachatter hosted by Blogchatter.