Sustainable development is about making business decisions that protect the environment, improve society and provide economic development - and being clear, transparent and responsible about these decisions and their outcomes.
Adopting a clear, well thought out sustainability strategy makes good business sense, and allows you to stand out against our competitors for all of the right reasons.
Sustainability is more than just a buzzword or fad, and in this current climate, its value and importance is on the increase.
Even though undertaking a sustainability strategy makes sound economic and environmental sense, presently it is voluntary for businesses to undertake and report on sustainable measures.
However, the government is now debating whether to make sustainable reporting and assurance mandatory.
Taking on the responsibility of adopting a sustainability strategy can:
- reduce your energy costs - for example, in utility bills
- enhance your brand reputation and improve public relations
- increase customer and staff loyalty
- manage risk - for example, through corporate governance procedures
- improve internal and external relationships - for example, through community services, staffing policies and customer services.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is about businesses voluntarily taking responsibility for their actions, their environmental impacts, their community and their people. It involves:
- leading on improving value and considering its effects on society and the environment
- engaging customers, directors, employees, shareholders, investors, and suppliers
- setting measurable goals and targets of improvements, and reporting on these
- cutting costs by minimising waste in producing goods or providing services
- cutting costs by efficient energy usage
- minimising business risks
- improving the promotion of the business and its products and services
- better reporting to enhance transparency for investors.
Corporate social responsibility can help businesses:
- recruit and retain employees
- separate the business and its services in the minds of consumers and business partners
- reduce reputational risk
- avoid legislative intervention in the business through taxation or regulations.
Currently, the reporting requirements for corporate social responsibility are voluntary. We recommend reading:
Accountants have a strong role to play in developing and maintaining a sustainability strategy.
Any plan or policy needs to be measured and communicated and accountants are seen to provide high quality information and engage in other sustainability related activities - so are ideally qualified to facilitate any such policy.
Discover more about how accountants are involved in sustainable development such as planning, embedding, measuring and reporting sustainable information from the following links: