“Sustainability” has become a buzzword. But it has also become clear that we are overexploiting nature, the health of our employees, and the natural resources of our planet, and that we are damaging our climate if we do not operate sustainably.
Of course, everyone thinks of themselves first, of their profit, i.e. selfishly and not altruistically. But game theory shows us that we are dealing with a commons dilemma. Everything works in cycles. Thus, our actions come back and affect us in return. If we do not manage sustainably, we deprive ourselves of our livelihood.
That is why sustainable management is important. The public’s openness to sustainable action is becoming more and more pronounced. This is why sustainable business practices are increasingly being rewarded by customers, suppliers, service partners, our own employees and financial investors. The products of companies that operate sustainably can increasingly be sold better than the products of companies that do not operate sustainably. Companies that operate sustainably are more valuable than those that do not, because company valuations are increasingly influenced by intangible factors such as know-how, brand strength and reputation.
So it pays to operate sustainably, not for the sake of etiquette, but to help preserve our livelihoods and make companies valuable.
If institutional financial investors and customers recognize sustainable business practices, it may be partly due to the spirit of the age, but as long as it promotes a commitment to sustainability, it’s a good thing. Financial investors judge investments based on future performance. They trust companies that operate sustainably to have higher future earnings than those that do not; and that makes companies that operate sustainably valuable. A self-commitment to sustainable action through PR messages makes it more difficult for companies to behave differently and can support the implementation of actually sustainable behavior.
A first step towards sustainable action is to record the status quo. This can be done by determining your ecological footprint; a further step is then to operate in a truly sustainable manner.