We have reached a stage, where climate change has become one of the biggest threats for our planet. It has become a global concern, and therefore a responsibility of everyone involved. Businesses can no longer treat digital transformation and sustainability as mutually exclusive activities. It is about time for businesses to get serious about their sustainability efforts. Governments, shareholders, employees, and consumers all want businesses to make environmental concerns integral to their decision-making.
Here are the key pillars for building a sustainable business:
The senior management should be involved in environment management decision-making – In a sustainable business, senior management take active part in environmental management decisions including strategy, sourcing, competence, awareness, communication, and approval. They ensure performance evaluation and continual improvement. They form an active committee to establish risk–mitigation strategies, develop and deploy standards, programs, and procedures to reduce environmental risks.
Performing periodic risk assessment – One of the key ingredients to building a sustainable business is to periodically conduct internal environmental risk assessments. This involves evaluating potential risks associated with the IT and non-IT processes, including machinery, hardware, and consumer supplies. Also, assessing the use of energy, water, E-waste, and waste management with an aim to proactively identify, mitigate, and manage potential environmental hazards using programs, procedures, and engineering controls.
Commitment to transformation to net zero – A sustainable business is committed to the greater goal of transforming business practices by remodeling their functions, processes, and services to meet the goal of net zero. They try to innovate solutions that enhance their contribution towards net zero emissions across the board and channel their capital towards net zero business models, products, and services.
Facilitating Training of employees – A sustainable business cannot be built without the necessary training of employees and ensuring that they are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to perform their functions safely and with zero harm to the environment. This includes job specific and site-specific training, on the job training, and specialized training that includes the prevention of land pollution, management of hazardous waste and other waste, handling of chemicals while cleaning, and other topics related to the environment. Training and awareness also includes engaging employees in incident investigations, identifying potential improvements, and assisting in implementation and improvement of management systems.
Conducting periodical audits and validation – To ensure that sustainability guidelines are adhered and duly met, periodical audits need to be conducted. As part of these audits, physical location of workspaces are required to demonstrate compliance in tandem with the ISO certified environment management system standards. To ensure reliable, accurate and complete reporting, a team of internal auditors need to be created to check for defined roles and responsibilities, current processes, and procedures for any deviation from the set standards.
In conclusion, it is the need of the hour for businesses to place high focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors that impact the way they function. They need to provide a safe environment to employees while complying with the highest levels of environment management standards. By enabling people to make better decisions with respect to ESG parameters, businesses can attain sustainable growth in the true sense.