Why is Sustainability Important?

What is sustainability? Reasons why is sustainability important? What is the Importance of Sustainability? Why is Sustainability important?

We have talked about sustainability and the three major pillars of sustainability, but why is it important for us to discuss? Sustainability is becoming more important for all companies, across all industries. 62% of executives consider a sustainability strategy necessary to be competitive today, and another 22% think it will be in the future.

In this guide, you will learn:

  • What are the importance of sustainability?
  • How to measure sustainability?

Putting it in simple terms, Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition to natural resources, we also need social and economic resources. The goal in developing sustainable business practices is to create strategies that preserve the long-term viability of People, Planet and Profit. Put it in another way, it’s about managing People, Planet and Profit – otherwise known as the triple bottom line. Sustainability is not just environmentalism. Embedded in most definitions of sustainability we also find concerns for social equity and economic development. At a time where society is becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, their collective movement towards a sustainable future is leading to huge changes in the corporate landscape. Leading conglomerates like Siemens, Nike, and Toyota are showing that sustainable innovation is a key priority in their business models, paving the way for other companies to commit. As discussed in our other sustainability guide on three different types of sustainability:


Environmental Sustainability

Ecological integrity is maintained, all of earth’s environmental systems are kept in balance while natural resources within them are consumed by humans at a rate where they are able to replenish themselves.

Economic Sustainability

Human communities across the globe are able to maintain their independence and have access to the resources that they require, financial and other, to meet their needs. Economic systems are intact and activities are available to everyone, such as secure sources of livelihood.

Social Sustainability

Universal human rights and basic necessities are attainable by all people, who have access to enough resources in order to keep their families and communities healthy and secure. Healthy communities have just leaders who ensure personal, labour and cultural rights are respected and all people are protected from discrimination.

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The importance of Sustainability

There are many reasons why sustainability is important to us.

  1. Improves trust and engagement between staff, investors, customers and other stakeholders 
  2. Attracts and retain employees 
  3. Builds credibility, improves relationships and enhances brand awareness 
  4. Reinforce Community Relations
  5. Encourage Innovation that benefits other measurements
  6. A better understanding of your customers

Examples of Sustainability in Business Corporations

Many businesses and corporations have stepped up to and taken the lead in sustainability.

  • Walmart, IKEA and H&M have moved toward more sustainable retailing, largely by leading collaboration across their supply chains to reduce waste, increase resource productivity and optimize material usage. It also has taken steps to address local labour conditions with suppliers from emerging markets. 
  • Nike and Adidas have both stepped up seriously. Nike has focused on reducing waste and minimizing its footprint, whereas Adidas has created a greener supply chain and targeted specific issues like dyeing and eliminating plastic bags.
  • In biopharma, Biogen and Novo Nordisk have both worked toward energy efficiency, waste reduction, and other ecological measures. They have also focused on social impact via partner initiatives in the areas of health and safety.
  • Pepsi and Coca-Cola have both developed ambitious agendas, such as increasing focus on water stewardship and setting targets on water replenishment.
  • Unilever and Nestlé have both taken on major commitments; Unilever notably on organic palm oil and its overall waste and resource footprint, and Nestlé in areas such as product life cycle, climate, water efficiency and waste.

Sustainability Measurements

You can measure sustainability now with framework BS 8900 from the British Government. The BS 8900 certification is designed to help organizations to continually evolve their approach to sustainable development. It allows them to evolve and adapt to meet the new and continuing challenges and demands faced every day. unlike other certification standards, such as ISO 14001 or OHSAS 18001, 8900-2 does not set out a series of detailed requirements for a management system, but instead focuses on specific outcomes, such as requiring users to demonstrate that they are identifying and managing their sustainable development issues.

This standard comes in two parts, the first of which provides guidance on taking a strategic approach to sustainable development and the second of which allows assessment of the outcomes of your organization’s sustainable development activities. It demonstrates that the business is growing in a responsible manner and can reduce the negative impacts, whilst realizing the positive benefits for People, Profit and Planet. The newly released standard for sustainable development – the BS 8900 certification – organizations are examined on how well they meet the specific guidelines and requirements and are then awarded the certification based on the successful fulfilment of the criteria. The standard acts as an evaluative framework to support organizational self-assessment or third-party assessment of sustainable development outcomes. It is not a management system specification. Instead, it defines a systematic approach to direct and lead the organization’s strategy. Those who were awarded BS8900 have taken a genuine and effective approach to address and managing sustainable development. 

Great sustainability Resources

Why is Sustainability Important?

Sue R.

Sustainability Importance
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Best Videos on Importance of Sustainability

The top reasons why Sustainability is Importance includes:

  1. Improves trust and engagement between staff, investors, customers and other stakeholders 
  2. Attracts and retain employees 
  3. Builds credibility, improves relationships and enhances brand awareness 
  4. Reinforce Community Relations
  5. Encourage Innovation that benefits other measurements
  6. A better understanding of your customers

More on sustainability at Diversity Social – best of sustainability.

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About the author

Susanne Ricee

Susanne Ricee is the Diversity and Inclusion Specialist and Researcher at Diversity for Social Impact. Sue brings over 15 years of HR and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion consultation experience.
Sue's previous experience includes Microsoft, Target, and Kraft. Sue is also the manager of Diversity Leadership Directory