What Does It Mean to Lead a Sustainable Company?

sustainable company leader sitting in his office

It’s long been thought that profitability and sustainability are at odds with each other and that in order to increase profits, environmental responsibilities must be sacrificed—or vice versa. In recent years, business leaders and influencers have begun recognizing that sustainable practices and profits can actually go hand-in-hand. It’s all about striking the right balance.

If you’re considering going back to school to complete your Doctoral Degree in Business Administration, you may be interested to learn that Grand Canyon University embraces a modern, cutting-edge curriculum that covers topics like sustainability in business.

The Many Facets of Business Sustainability

To lead a sustainable company means that leaders must consider the three primary areas of impact: profits, people and planet. True sustainability refers to an ideal balance of opportunities and obligations and the effective risk management of environmental, financial and social issues.

Clearly, sustainability permeates into a broad spectrum of business impacts. Leaders who manage to find that perfect balance contribute to building stronger communities, a healthier planet for the next generation and better financial resiliency.

A Closer Look at Business Sustainability

Setting aside that broad definition for a minute, consider what sustainable practices might look like in the day-to-day operations of the company. A company’s sustainability practices will be substantially influenced by the industry it’s in.

  • Retail: Primarily focuses on sustainable supply chains
  • Manufacturing: Primarily focuses on sustainable resource use and waste elimination
  • Agribusiness: Primarily focuses on permaculture and chemical use reduction

For instance, the management team for a retail franchise may look for ways to reduce packaging waste, utilize eco-friendly transportation, reduce energy use in stores and boost recycling efforts. Manufacturing companies tend to focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, researching more efficient ways of using finite natural resources and looking for fiscally prudent ways to implement renewable energy systems. And agribusinesses can produce and market organic goods.

The Many Benefits of Sustainable Practices

Many modern business leaders feel an obligation to their communities and ecosystem regarding the implementation of sustainable practices. But there are other benefits that are commonly overlooked and these speak directly to a company’s bottom line. Sustainability can fuel profitability because it increases consumer appeal and manages reputation risks.

In short, consumers like to vote with their dollars. Given a choice of a “green” product and a “non-green,” but otherwise identical product, the average consumer is more likely to purchase the green product. Similarly, a sustainable company is more likely to attract the top talent among job candidates. Sustainable business practices can also lead to long-term cost reductions. Installing solar panels definitely requires an initial investment, but the long-term savings is well worth the trouble. Even waste reduction can lead to long-term savings, given the cost of waste removal services.

The College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University would like to connect you with any information you need to make decisions about your pursuit of higher education. Click on the Request More Information button at the top of the screen, and ask for info on our Doctor of Business Administration degree program.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.