Sustainability in Business in the post-COVID world

Marta Zadravec

In the post COVID, world sustainability in business is becoming more meaningful. The research found that 69 per cent of those experiencing significant disruption expecting green issues to rise in importance.

That seems to be the truth. Despite the extremely challenging market conditions, businesses are facing sustainability is one they should prioritize.

The research was conducted by Carbon Trust’s second annual ‘Corporate attitudes towards sustainability’ survey, by B2B International with large companies across Germany, France, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, and the UK.

Three-quarters of organizations interviewed were negatively impacted by Covid-19, with four per cent saying it represented an existential threat to their organization. Furthermore, 32 per cent reported that their operations had been heavily impaired.

Organizations around the world are considering their role in delivering a green recovery – achieving net-zero targets at the same time as fostering economic.

Driven by fast retailing fashion and footwear industry is also facing increased social, environmental, and regulatory pressures.

Leading brands are rethinking their business models and leading the change to a more sustainable future for the footwear and fashion industry. And consumers are looking for companies with a sustainable soul. For example:

  • 93% of global consumers want more of their favourite products, services and retailers to support worthy social issues
  • 96% of people have a more positive image of companies that support Corporate Social Responsibility
  • 93% of shoppers are more loyal to brands that back cause
  • 91% of customers are likely to switch brands (given comparable price and quality to one associated with a good cause).

We should all commit to better business practices to create a more sustainable business and inclusive world for all.

Sustainability in business practices

It is time for more sustainable supply chains, a greater focus on green finance and a commitment to social innovation.

As McKinsey reports, there has been much discussion about the shortening of supply chains, reshoring or near-shoring, and emerging hubs of manufacturing such as the Philippines, Hungary or Costa Rica. In the McKinsey survey, 85% of respondents struggled with insufficient digital technologies in the supply chain, while 90% now intend to increase digital supply chain talent in-house.

Harvard Business Review covers in-depth how sustainable supply chains form a better business practice. The study covers how multinational corporations have pledged to work only with suppliers that adhere to social and environmental standards. In the study, the aim is to describe various ways that MNCs can tackle the risks and understand the situation.

From solar power farms to flood defences, the world needs to build more sustainable infrastructure. To build it, we need to have specific targets on the issuance of green finance. First things first, the private sector should collectively agree on a common set of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics to promote green finance.

Once those metrics are established, businesses should integrate sustainability reporting into financial updates as a matter of course.

Finally, the private sector has a massive role in supporting start-ups in the social innovation space and helping ensure everyone has access to the digital tools they need. As an example, Microsoft launched an initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire the digital skills needed in the post – COVID world.  

If you are looking to help bring sustainability in business, lend your expertise and back the entrepreneurs. There are many examples of small business owners, start-ups and foundations who help bring sustainability to the economy. Another sustainable start-up is Agrivi, from Croatia, with a vision to change the way food is produced in its core and positively impact one billion lives by helping farmers reach sustainable, resource-efficient and profitable production.

To sum up, businesses should rethink the role of business in the economy. Bringing sustainability in business will help society when the next crisis arises, be it financial, health, cyber or otherwise.