Beyond green: Sustainability's true scope

By: Anne van Esch

Sustainability is a hot topic. Organizations think it's important, but then..., ‘what can I do about it?’. And ‘what difference does my effort make now?’. Do I act on the bare necessaties for window dressing purposes, or does it really make sense for my organization to do 'something with sustainability' now? The answer is ‘Yes!’. Acting on sustainability really makes sense. And there are several reasons for that.

Environmental impact
Social responsibility
Corporate governance
ESG (environment, society, governance)
Sustainable development goals (SDG)
Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)
Green Deal
Labor market
Organizational transformation

Sustainability is about more than just ‘emissions and green’

Sustainability is, of course, about reducing emissions to reduce the impact of our activities. But sustainability is also about much more: it is also about making the world a better place for all people: equal opportunities for everyone, combating poverty, work on a liveable world and about sustainable economic growth. Also summarized as Environment, Social and governance (ESG). Sustainability is therefore more than investing in a greener way of working: it is about growth and improvement. Also, growth and improvement in the products or services for which your organization stands.

Three reasons to make sustainability part of business operations in 2023

1. There is a growing scarcity and costs are increasing

There is hardly a profession that does not have a shortage of good people. Due to the aging of the population, major challenges continue to arise. And that is also at the expense of what we consider most important in society, such as the quality of care and education.

Resources are also no longer freely available: limited availability of energy, fuel, goods and raw materials for the production of chips for electronics, for example, causes development stagnation and high costs. Searching for a sustainable deployment of people and resources is therefore urgently needed to guarantee the continuity of your organization.

2. We have concrete goals together

The Netherlands has made agreements within both the United Nations and Europe about achieving sustainability goals. The United Nations has set 17 sustainable development goals (SDG). Goals that you see in action plans of municipalities and other large public organizations, among others. The agreements in Europe quickly lead to European laws and regulations, which we also have to work with in the Netherlands. For example, from 2024 and 2025, large companies will be required to report on non-financial performance in accordance with the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

Sectors also make specific sector agreements on sustainability, such as the Green Deal 3.0 sustainable care. And then there are various quality marks and certificates. These can be used for purchasing and investment choices. There is actually no organization that is not confronted with the demand for transparency about sustainability and the action that follows from it. Then you won't sit and wait, will you?

3. More and more talent choose a ‘sustainable’ employer

More and more people find it more important to do meaningful work. Research shows that transparency and corporate social responsibility are decisive factors for millennials and generation Z when choosing an employer. Sustainability is therefore of growing importance for being an attractive employer and supplier. And therefore, also crucial in this tight and aging labor market.

Enough reasons to want to act more sustainably. And with the 17 goals of the UN there are also plenty of topics your organization can focus on. Do you want to work specifically on the sustainability goals? Let us know and we'll get to work with you!

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