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Sustainability and Environmental Management System (EMS): Why every business should keep eye on these aspects?

Sustainability and Environmental Management System (EMS: Why every business should keep eye on these aspects?

In the last years, the word sustainability took over in the daily news and in our daily life aspects. But primarily, it is strictly associated whit businesses and their responsibility to take action to meet their current needs “without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (United Nations Definition).

This issue has been discussed and implemented already in large organizations and multinationals, and so far, just a smaller effort has been done to translate this pressure also on the small and medium enterprises SMEs. Even if they account for fewer emissions and environmental impact they still need to realize that becoming sustainable is not a merely cost, but can imply benefits and business opportunities.

Why do all businesses need to become sustainable?

First of all, it is legit to debunk a myth, sustainable businesses HAVE TO make money. Based on a common misconception, entrepreneurs and managers may think that implementing a sustainable strategy might interfere with their ability to make money, but this statement is completely wrong. In fact, for being sustainable a business has to make money to generate value and continue to exist in long term. Profit in fact is one of the three pillars that describe a sustainable business together with considering the people, social responsibility, and the planet, environmental responsibility.

The main difference of a sustainable business is that it is not taking profit at all cost and meanwhile it also consider the cost issued on the people and on the planet. Being sustainable is beneficial for businesses’ survival as it will implement controls and systems to secure that their current actions will not jeopardize the possibility to continue creating value in the future. And every actor of our system should take responsibility for their action.

What are the benefits of engaging in a sustainable strategy?

One of the main benefits of engaging in a sustainable strategy is a risk reduction of the possible inaction and the possibility to find new business opportunities. Legislation has been tighter and it will continue to narrow. In order to avoid being found guilty of environmental hazards and receiving the fees that go with it, it is important to be proactive and play in advance than government and your competitors, this could give us an enormous competitive advantage. On the other hand, the cost of inaction can send firms out of business and create irreversible costs for the planet.

In order to calculate these benefits upon our business strategy valuation plan, it will be fundamental to change our short-term thinking.  It is fundamental to swift our focus from short-term results and revenue to long-term goals and value creation.

For making a real example the main question should be; does it have the sense to increase our quarterly revenues now, and then be forced to shut down activities in the upcoming future?

This is the mentality that should start spreading inside all corporations to avoid the cost of inaction will becoming irreversible.

What can businesses do to become more sustainable?

Various steps can be implemented inside the business to foster sustainability. One is to take steps in demonstrating their efforts in protecting the environment, and for this aspect, the solution is to start developing an Environmental Management System (EMS).

EMS analyzes the impact the firm has on the environment and develops the possible solution to reduce their negative effect on the environment. In fact, it enhances the firm with the practice to follow to assess their impact and after that is the firm duty to create concrete actions for their sustainability path. EMS can be certified standard or can just be used internally to evaluate their environmental impact. However, if not required by the law they are not compulsory but they can be a useful tool to stand up from the competition.


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