TOPIC JUSTIFICATION

Sustainability is a management and decision-making process that seeks to balance social, economic, and environmental issues. Sustainability is a fundamental aspect to analyze since business operations interact with the society and environment. Businesses heavily depend on nature for the supply of raw materials and an enabling environment for working set up; therefore, it would be impossible for business existence without nature. While businesses depend on the environment for continuity purposes, some operations lead to extinction and natural resources destruction. Moreover, unethical business practices may endanger biological lives and human labour which is core in determining business prevalence. According to the United Nations Publication (2013), irresponsible production and consumption lead to high social and economic costs that threaten the universe’s survival. The close relationship between business operations, social and environmental continuity is the main reason for choosing the topic.

Due to scarcity and irreversibility of resources, sustainability requires strategic business skills that will not suppress either side of sustainability’s core pillars (social, economic and environmental). The implementation of sustainable measures is associated with costs which are incomparable to the benefits it generates to the business and economy. Therefore, companies require proper decision-making skills, organization and planning to maintain the balance of natural resources (Holcroft, 2021). The study of the topic helps prepare students to behave responsibly and ethically after completing their education and entering the industrial sector. Research indicates that teaching sustainability in institutions as greater chances of securing the future since it helps prepare a student for accountability at an early stage (Cullen, 2015). Business sustainability encourages managers to deliver goods deeds to society and the environment and reap economic benefits. Implementing sustainable practices enables businesses to enhance their reputation, reduce operation costs and manage resources appropriately.

LITERATURE OVERVIEW

The research uses a variety of credible sources such as journals, articles and government and scholarly websites. The literature is based on scholarly, findings, biometric data and evidence that render the piece of writing credible. Many scholars indicate that businesses sustainability practices work by integrating social, environmental, and economic factors for the future. Scholars have established an ethical motive in business engagement in sustainable measures and ruled out speculations of other intentions. However, the research also highlights the biases in sustainability and the challenges the world face in adopting the policies. Some researchers argue that business engages in sustainable practices to promote their brand or due to the government’s fear and the media. Due to the need to avoid making losses due to negative publicity, some researchers question the nobility of business in sustainable measures.

The literature will focus on the positive impacts of sustainability. The work discusses companies’ ethical and non-profit making ambitions by analyzing business cases in the United Kingdom. Examples of firms discussed include the UK Construction Company and Coca Cola. The academics indicate that UK Construction Company works by ensuring the wellbeing of the environment, biological life, people and natural resources. The companies also operate sustainably by reducing wastage of funds and finding ways to preserve the available resources.

ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK

Traditional business models work by favouring the business stakeholders at the expense of the environment and social life. In the traditional model, efforts are directed towards reaping profits regardless of the associated consequences. The failure to engage in ethical practices creates tension and disagreements between businesses and governments, employees and the public. Unsustainable practices deteriorate the relationship between firms are consumers crippling their ability to operate on the intended business plan. The strained relationship reduces the profits of companies and capital since investor shuns away from unethical firms. Businesses operations also, directly and indirectly, affect the supply chain of resources, and therefore sustainable practices ensure a stable flow of resources. For instance, companies emitting C02 and other pollutants have resulted in climatic changes that have affected the agricultural sector by destroying soil fertility, increasing diseases and pest infestation and lowering yields. Floods, drought, hurricanes, and erratic weather patterns are among the consequences of unsustainable practices that affect firms’ expenditure, operations, and revenue. Unilever, Mars and Nespresso have engaged with the Rainforest Alliance to overcome climate hostility and land degradation (Whelan & Fink, 2016).

Companies that engage in business sustainability do not necessarily target financial gains since it is based on long-term and sometimes intangible benefits. The engagement in sustainable practice is an ethical change in managers’ mindset and environmental and social awareness. For instance, the industrial sector has joined the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change in the quest to reduce emission by 80% by 2050 through a long-term sustainability plan (Bocken et al., 2014). Businesses have also made it their ambition to improve the quality of life by creating employment opportunities and keeping the environment and air fit for human existence. Sustainable practices also give companies a competitive advantage since consumers appreciate firms that cater to their well being. Moreover, companies’ reputation that engages in sustainable measures is likely to increase due to the market’s loyalty. Although businesses that engage in sustainable practice may incur some costs, they enjoy greater productivity and profits.

Some researchers argue that sustainability is a market theory of creating a brand, reputation, image and reducing costs. In the modern world, the media can tarnish a company image when it is associates with unethical practices; therefore, some businesses may claim to engage in sustainable practices to cover their schemes (Wales, 2013). Some firms, therefore, view engagement in sustainable practices as an opportunity rather than a responsibility. Sustainable measures have become an advertising strategy that improves companies profile through strategies. Evidence has also associated some firms with the desire to access capital by joining corporate social responsibility (CSR) movements; therefore, the companies’ ethical motive has been questionable. Additionally, companies may involve sustainable practices to avoid conflicts with the law (MacQueen, 2005).

Although theories may associate sustainability with financial and political ambitions, the ethical motive surpasses the material gain. In some case, businesses invest a large amount of fund in operating sustainability due to moral consciousness and awareness of society and the environment. Sustainability encourages businesses to optimize the use of available resources and preserve them for future generations.  

References

Bocken, N., Short, S. W., Rana, P., & Evans, S. 2014. A literature and practice review to develop sustainable business model archetypes. [Online] Available from ScienceDirect.com | Science, health and medical journals, full text articles and books. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652613008032 [Accessed 31 January 2021].

Coca Cola. (2018). Coca cola business sustainability report. [Online] Available from https://www.coca-colacompany.com/content/dam/journey/us/en/policies/pdf/safety-health/coca-cola-business-and-sustainability-report-2018.pdf [Accessed 31 January 2021].

Cullen, J. G. (2015). Educating business students about sustainability: A bibliometric review of current trends and research needs. Journal of Business Ethics145(2), 429-439. [Online] Available from https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2838-3 [Accessed 31 January 2021].

Highways England. (2017). Sustainable development strategy Our approach. [Online] Available from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/605079/Sustainable_Development_Strategy_6.pdf [Accessed 31 January 2021].

Holcroft, J. Y. (2021). The importance of skills for the sustainability of business. The UK’s Leading Plastic Trade Association. [Online] Available from https://bpf.co.uk/sustainable_manufacturing/introduction_to_sustainability/Importance_of_skills.aspx [Accessed 31 January 2021].

MacQueen. (2005). Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Corporate Social Responsibility: A Discussion Paper1. [Online] Available from https://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/G02266.pdf [Accessed 31 January 2021].

Misopoulos, F., Manthou, V., & Michaelides, Z. (2019). Environmental and social sustainability in UK construction industry: A systematic literature review. European Journal of Economics and Business Studies5(1), 100. [Online] Available from https://doi.org/10.26417/ejes.v5i1.p100-115 [Accessed 31 January 2021].

United Nations Publication. (2013). World economic and social survey 2013. World Economic and Social Survey (WESS). [Online] Available from https://doi.org/10.18356/d30cb118-en [Accessed 31 January 2021].

Wales, T. (2013). ORGANIZATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: WHAT IS IT, AND WHY DOES IT MATTER? Review of Enterprise and Management Studies1(1). [Online] Available from https://www.uos.ac.uk/sites/default/files/basic_file/REAMS_1-(1)_Wales-v2.pdf [Accessed 31 January 2021].

Whelan, T., & Fink, C. (2016, October 21). The comprehensive business case for sustainability. Harvard Business Review. [Online] Available from https://hbr.org/2016/10/the-comprehensive-business-case-for-sustainability [Accessed 31 January 2021].

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