Sustainable Development: A Business Perspective

Sustainable Development

Though business is primarily a monetary affair, the global issues of climate change, resource management, and sustainable development have propelled this commercial entity to play its part in the greater good of the planet.

Owing to the large-scale education and awareness about such burning ecological issues, the masses are also more inclined to consume products and services that have a quotient of eco-friendliness to them. Consequently, more and more environment-friendly goods are coming up; since what is consumed in the market is produced by the industries.

To support this shift and encourage everyone to follow suit, the UN has declared 17 goals to accomplish, calling them the Sustainable to Development Goals (SDGs). Let us go through them one by one and discover the business potential each goal carries.

#1 No Poverty

A company investing in food can come up with a line of products that are highly nutritional at an affordable rate. A finance firm could come up with micro-insurance packages for low-income groups.

A factory owner can provide employment and financial support for those in dire need by hiring them for manual labor. A healthcare enterprise could promote new health policies like affordable healthcare for all.

#2 Zero Hunger

As industrial revolutions crept in one after another, the farmer community was hit the hardest. To this day they are suffering the consequences.

In many areas of the world, especially in developing countries, farming lands lack fertility due to the industrial effluents around that area; this must be rectified.

Basic responsibilities like respecting local land rights, applying policies to restrict pollution in industries, and partnering with farmers and others in the value chain are some ways to help the farmer community.

#3 Good Health & Well-being

This is already being pursued with much haste and progress. However, the issue here is inclusion. The avenues for investment lie in the sphere of healthcare and food industries.

Much spending on micronutrients can lead to healthier life spans in the masses. Also, healthcare enterprises can partner with the food industry to create healthy, life-saving products.

#4 Quality Education

EdTech is the newest innovation in this field. Since it is rather new and budding, investors and enterprises can find their own way to use this to their leverage.

#5 Gender Equality

Coming up with programs and policies to reduce gender inequality in your business can boost productivity. Focusing on empowering the women in your value chain can help improve your brand image socially.

#6 Clean Water & Sanitation

Water is already a very important and intricate part of many businesses’ supply chains. However, since water is a resource that is scarce more than ever before, businesses can invest in optimizing their value chains to decrease the wastage of water.

This could lead to investments in the discovery of newer ways to achieve product upgradation. Also, commercial solutions for sanitization are significant avenues for investment for the chemical industry. Consequently, much research can go into these fields.

#7 Affordable & Clean energy

According to Deloitte’s renewable energy outlook, for every dollar invested in energy efficiency measures, $2 can be saved. So, companies must invest in cleaner energy sources to not only achieve ecological value but also cost-effectiveness.

Also, managements need to scrutinize their supply chains to observe the occurrence of unnecessary emissions.

#8 Decent work & Economic growth

This contradicts the current trend of advancements in the robotic field. It is rightly predicted that robots will replace the manual workforce in repetitive, low-cognitive jobs.

So, in order to develop a workforce that is immune to such changes, it is imperative to invest in programs that simulate permanent learning in workers.

#9 Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

This needs no further explanation. These three elements are the major drivers for investment in any field. However, incorporating ‘sustainability’ in your investment strategy is vital.

The era of Industry 4.0 is upon us, so businesses must reinvent themselves to suit the coming revolution.

#10 Reduced Inequalities

This is where an entrepreneur’s ingenuity comes alive. By investing in certain sectors and markets that are untouched, it is possible to unearth so much potential lying dormant.

For instance, consider the healthcare industry in low-income countries. With decent investment and business plan, one can become unrivaled in this sector.

#11 Sustainable cities and communities

Many opportunities are waiting to be exploited in urban areas. Be it in housing, industries, or infrastructure, everything holds a key to improving sustainability.

For instance, enterprises can invest in equipping households with solar panels, or R&D organizations can come up with better ways to optimize public transportation, etc.

#12 Responsible consumption & production

This is a proper cause to invest in technologies like IoT, AI, and big data. They can assist in controlled, unwanted consumption of electricity and help in cost-savings.

This applies to households, industries, organizations, and any business with physical infrastructure.

#13 Climate action

Climate action refers to tackling both the causes and consequences of climate change. Thus, it is pertinent to invest in technologies that improve energy efficiency, green tech, and other complementary technologies.

#14 Life below water

Conserving oceans is indispensable for the life of man on earth. So, it can be invaluable to invest in businesses that recycle plastic, help in cleaning oceans, wastewater management, etc. Also, advanced research can be funded in this regard.

#15 Life on land

The flora and fauna are vast resources in themselves; but unfortunately, they are depleting. Many of them serve as primary resources for our industries. Also, they are vital in stabilizing the ecosystem.

Investing in eco-friendly practices like recyclability of products, and propagating a greener and cleaner value chain is pertinent for this cause.

#16 Peace, justice, and strong institutions

This is where technology can again play a major role. Designing portals and mobile apps to improve the viability of protection when emergencies arise is a relevant action plan.

Also, by investing in EdTech, it is possible to educate masses regarding the basic rights and litigations in their power.

#17 Partnerships for goals

As we reach the final goal, we observe that most of these goals require a confluence of two or more parties to realize any success.

Imagine a food industry being complemented by an eco-friendly logistics and packaging industry. Picture an education industry thriving in sync with the technological industry.

Like so, since many governments and organizations are working towards realizing these goals, there are bound to be meaningful partnerships.

Sustainability is no longer a specification you tick in a long checklist of requirements. It has a realm of possibilities and potential all on its own. Many entrepreneurs are using this to their leverage by establishing startups that provide sustainable goods or services. From food industry, clothing, apparel & beauty products, jewelry, there are limitless prospects in every industry.

Even established corporations are navigating into ‘green’ tech and services. They are transforming their value and supply chains to suit the current ‘eco’ standards. So, it is clear that sustainability is now more than an environmental issue. It is a business standard, one that everyone must strive to achieve.

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