ustainability in business has always been a journey and not a destination. Traditionally, sustainability in business has also been about applying best practices, “raising the bar” for improved economic, environmental, and social business performance, as well as demonstrating continuous improvement and sustained growth. For many companies, the sustainability journey has reached a tipping point with only one in five businesses having made significant progress in integrating sustainability across all core business functions. While overall business integration of sustainability has made progress, there is still a long way to go. The priority for business remains, but the challenges of sustainability integration across business functions remains difficult. Business leaders also recognize that the better the overall integration of sustainability across business functions, the better the bottom line business performance.
Is there a pass-through hidden benefit of the sustainability journey that is being overlooked? For many leaders it is the opportunity for their companies to become more creative and innovative with their business models. Deloitte in a recent study “Sustainability Driven Innovation” acknowledges that leadership in sustainability is a major driving force for leadership in innovation. This is because innovative design helps differentiate products in the market place. Innovation, moreover, also drives bottom line performance through the manufacture and sale of innovative products and services. Deloitte’s conclusion is that sustainability leaders are more than 400 percent more likely to be considered innovation leaders as well.
Where can sustainable innovation be found in companies today?
Much of sustainable innovation now comes through a whole new organizational mindset, company culture, and philosophy that is evidenced by “RE”- doing things over and doing things anew, that can be found in words such as redesign, restore, rebuild, reduce, reuse, recreate, reinvest, and reward!