The key role of sustainable production in company growth
Sustainable development is not a question of perspective, but an obligatory path to guarantee a peaceful future for future generations in a healthy planet. Starting from this premise, more and more companies are adopting sustainable production strategies, also in response to growing demand from consumers.
Yes, because it is not exclusively an ethical and environmental issue (although in times of climate change, truly considering all the ethical and environmental implications of the choices you make should be a given): following Objective 12 of the 2030 Agenda, which talks about sustainable production and adequate consumption models, is also an advantage for the companies themselves. Adopting a sustainable production method makes companies competitive, in terms of innovation, efficiency and reputation.
What is sustainable production?
When we talk about sustainable production we mean a production approach oriented not only towards economic efficiency and results, but also towards reducing environmental impact and improving the quality of life of local communities. Sustainable production seeks a balance between three components, Planet, profit and people, balancing the various economic, ecological and social aspects in favor of a systemic and integrated vision.
Companies should therefore integrate this aspect into their corporate policy, introducing sustainable products that attract customers more (and therefore represent sources of growth) and improving the operational performance of the various production sites, with the efficiency of resources and consumption energy, or again, in the case of service companies, aiming to improve the efficiency of the processes on which the company itself is based from a sustainable perspective.
The impact of companies on the environment should gradually be reduced until it becomes neutral: it is therefore essential to minimize the use of non-renewable resources, reduce waste and decarbonise production. The objective must be to create products that have the minimum impact during the creation phase, perhaps also promoting recycled materials, and that last over time. In addition to all this, another key principle for sustainable production is social equity, through the protection of workers’ well-being, thanks to dignified working conditions and adequate wages.
Sustainable production and development
Sustainable production is an integral part of the sustainable development model. The latter is the founding concept of Agenda 2030, “an action plan for people, the planet and prosperity” drawn up and signed by 193 United Nations countries on 25 September 2015. Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the 2030 Agenda promotes, the twelfth intends to “ensure sustainable models of production and consumption”.
Preserving the climate and the planet means first of all becoming aware of the fact that human actions directly affect the health of our ecosystem. A rather arduous challenge in an increasingly globalized world which aims at overproduction: Objective 12, however, aims at a shared commitment to reduce the environmental impact of production activities, through responsible practices along the entire value chain, from efficiency energy to waste management, from the promotion of sustainable mobility to corporate social responsibility.
The production models to aim for are therefore based on renewable energy sources, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the protection of biodiversity.
Businesses are also called to take an active role in this process, through the adoption of environmentally friendly and socially balanced practices.
It is not just an ethical or image issue: the adoption of sustainable production models gives companies a tangible competitive advantage, opens up new market opportunities and ensures long-term growth.
The main advantages for companies that adopt a sustainable production method
Sustainability-oriented companies are more likely to achieve better results, including economic ones, and to influence society in a positive way.
There are essentially four main benefits that companies can obtain from this type of management.
• The first is to build customer loyalty. Many insights and research indicate a growing consumer interest in sustainable companies. This is a trend fueled by people’s sensitivity towards environmental issues, equity and social issues. Consumers choose to spend more on goods and services that clearly reflect these values: obviously this has clear repercussions on the company’s turnover, repaying the investments made in sustainability. In addition to this, the competitiveness of the company on the market also increases, because it establishes a long-term relationship of trust with the customer.
• Another advantage has to do with the efficiency and optimization of resources and processes and the consequent reduction of waste. This allows you to save resources and money in the production phase, limiting costs related to inefficiencies.
• The social implications should also not be underestimated: growth on the market brings with it a constant increase in production and consequently also in employment. Furthermore, the increase in turnover and the need for new skills to manage new processes have contributed to the creation of new professional and technical figures.
• Finally, effectively communicating the sustainability strategy is fundamental to increasing the company’s value in the market among stakeholders, which include consumers, business partners, workers and investors. Identification with the same values positively impacts trust between the parties involved at all levels, strengthening the ties that unite the organization to the different audiences with which it interacts on a daily basis.