How to grow your business with sustainable resources in mind
Sustainable Development, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental Footprint Reduction are all hot current topics for discussion. But what do these issues really mean for your business? Depending on your industry, the best way to address these issues will differ. Whether it’s chemical manufacturing, agribusiness, grape growing, winemaking or coffee farming, there is a common thread: respecting and addressing the social, environmental and economic needs of the communities in which you operate, while ensuring benefits for other stakeholders (employees, customers and investors).
Operating a business with sustainability in mind is not just good for the planet, it’s good for the growth of any business, whether it is a large, global operation or a small family-owned farm. At SBI we are passionate about improving the world and believe that private enterprise can – and should – be a major and effective player in this.
So what can you do to make your business more sustainable? It starts with one thing, commitment. Commitment to:
- Be engaged with the community in which you operate
- Go beyond government regulations in your efforts to protect the environment
- Adhere to the highest standards of product reliability and safety
- Respect the human rights of – and provide equity to – suppliers and workers through good governance, ethical operations, fair and humane treatment.
Through better business practices that balance responsibility with profitability, many companies are being called upon to contribute to the alleviation of poverty or to address other unique community needs, and more so for global organizations doing business in developing economies.
But it is not just global firms that need to make these changes. Every business, from the family farm to the factory, has an environmental footprint affecting their costs, their community and their future.
How you address your sustainability commitments will either enhance or undermine your:
- Brand equity
- Risk profile
- Access to capital
- License to operate
- Ability to attract and retain talent
Adherence to sustainability practices can also enhance product quality — two excellent examples are shade grown coffee and biodynamic wine.
The art of fine wines & sustainability
Care for the land is of the utmost importance to those engaged in agribusiness; perhaps more so for those in the business of creating fine wines. For winemakers, sustainability is deeper than land stewardship.
Wine companies must start by examining their own footprint and need not try to address global problems. Sustainable projects should be financially viable and simple enough as to not become a burden. A project might be as simple as eliminating the use of harmful weed killers and adopting other methods of weed removal. Or it can be as sophisticated as engaging in a Life Cycle Analysis, assessing every environmental impact from “cradle to grave,” in the production of a bottle of wine, including all inputs and suppliers, reducing the carbon footprint in shipping and packaging, monitoring water usage and the energy expenditure of winery operations.
Visible results are key as well. Consumers want something they can trust and retailers want something they can promote. The value of sustainability is also in the marketing opportunity it presents. Sharing the story behind your wine to consumers in an authentic way will enhance their experience with the wine, support their purchase decision and deepen their loyalty to the brand. We’ve seen this rising consumer interest in ethics in the sourcing of coffee and cocoa, and it can be just as positive and effective with the wine industry.
The future is now
We help companies reduce their environmental footprint and develop valuable relationships with communities and stakeholders, no matter where they are on their journey. Whether you are a recent entrant/adopter of CSR priorities or want to be a CSR leader, SBI can provide guidance and work closely with you to:
- Develop a viable corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy
- Engage with community leaders, activists and employees for the good of all
- Identify opportunities for corporate giving, strategic philanthropy and social investments
- Design communication tools – including CSR and sustainability reports – aligned with your business goals.
Contact us today for advice on how to achieve your sustainability goals.