Sustainable development means adopting ways of working that meet the needs of the present, reconciling environmental health, social equity and economic vitality. This, to create thriving, healthy, diverse and resilient communities.
This new ethical direction for society stems from a growing awareness of the impact that industries and cities have on the lives of people and the planet. To avoid compromising our today and tomorrow public and private companies are required to take a long-term view.
Sustainable development: mission and best practices
Based on the premise that the resources we use to work and live are limited, using them prudently and wisely enables sustainable development over time.
From concept to model, for every organization, sustainability presupposes a new sense of responsibility. And rediscovers the relevance of the social role of doing business.
The mission? To put into practice ways of developing and growing to build a path to integrate, in an increasingly pervasive way, sustainability principles and actions at the strategic level and in daily activities.
By pursuing continuous improvement, this translates into an ongoing commitment not only from internal company resources, but also from all stakeholders and supply chain partners.
In strengthening business performance, all stakeholders must be involved in an economic process capable of combining sustainable development and sustainable growth. Thus achieving virtuous environmental and social goals.
Indeed, sustainable development best practices support ecological, human and economic health and vitality.
Circular economy and sustainable development
In a nutshell, sustainable development is an approach that is good for business, people, and the environment. And, at this time, represents an important ecological transition to a new ecosystem. Consisting of sustainable, non-hydrocarbon-dependent energy sources and renewable materials.
The circular economy is a framework of solutions that address global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.
By decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources, the circular economy asks companies to rethink how they manage resources, make and use products, while also solving their disposal in a more functional way.
Only then will it be possible to create a thriving circular economy within the limits of our planet. The core of the circular economy is a mode of design and production based on regeneration and related to sustainable development. This, according to 3 guidelines:
- zeroing out waste and pollution;
- enhance product lifecycle management by including re-conditioning and recirculation of products and materials;
- regenerating nature.
Agenda 2030: government initiatives to foster sustainability
In September 2015, more than 150 international leaders met at the United Nations to contribute to global sustainable development, promote human well-being and protect the environment.
This occasion saw the endorsement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the essential elements of which are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs/SGs) and 169 sub-goals.
These take up aspects of fundamental importance to sustainable development. Such as addressing climate change and building peaceful societies by the year 2030 while striving to end poverty, fight inequality and promote social and economic development.
In turn, the European Commission, has set an ambitious agenda to foster a circular economy in the EU area. And to ensure coherence between industrial and environmental, climate and energy policies.
During 2021, major players in Asia, including China, Japan and South Korea, followed. Now, more than 100 countries have set concrete goals to achieve climate neutrality between now and the next few years.
Sustainability report: what it is and why it makes a difference
Pursuing corporate sustainability is not a new idea. But, to make intentions concrete, shared guidelines have been lacking in the past. For goals aimed at combating climate change, for example, until a few years ago organizations’ efforts lacked a standardized, evidence-based framework.
In addition to the statutory annual report, which is required by law, companies have begun to voluntarily compile the sustainability report. Namely broadening the view of the social, environmental and governance (ESG goals) dimensions of corporate activities.
The sustainability report (or social report) is a document addressed to all stakeholders to the company. Thus communicating the commitments and achievements made in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Technology to support sustainable development
With respect to the digital transformation journey, companies have not made large investments in technology to support sustainability initiatives.
According to observers, compared to the momentum underlying this type of transformation, the gap between theoretical dedication and practical implementation of digital tools could become a serious vulnerability for companies planning their sustainability initiatives in the future.
At present, most organizations are using spreadsheets, manually entering data without integrating dedicated tools at the process level.