why âx80x9csustainabilityâx80x9d should be more than a meaningless buzzword - super absorbent company
Through the environmental movement, the word "sustainability" has slowly entered the business vocabulary.
That no longer means paying for operating costs with profits, the definition I learned at Harvard Business School six years ago.
Instead, it becomes a vague term that fits any suitcase you want --
Whatever this means, it is a hot topic of social welfare.
The term has been used by different groups.
There are various meanings
At the dawn of the environmental movement, the Sierra Club launched it for the first time in the 1970 s.
At the time, activists openly opposed mining, water pollution and other environmental threats.
They define sustainable development as a way to protect natural resources through the creation of national parks and the enactment of legislation punishing polluters.
In the 1980 s, companies like Body Shop used sustainability to describe their commitment to the environment and human rights, as well as corporate priorities that transcend profits.
For the next 20 years, the term has been used by a small group of companies, such as Ben and jerry MCCs and Eileen Fisher, whose founders have tried to incorporate their social values into their
Over the past five years, sustainable development has become more popular as multinationals open new sustainable development departments and CEOs at the World Economic Forum.
The term is common.
The choice, perhaps because Americans, especially millennials, want not only to buy products that do the job, but also to align with their values (
Like soap, cars can be cleaned without damaging the environment).
Today, 2,500 multinationals from 58 industries participated in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which uses variables such as labor and environmental practices to assess the sustainability of each company.
The index is one of the world's more than 25 sustainability indices, each with a unique set of criteria
Measure governments, multilateral organizations and non-multilateral organizations
The level of sustainable development of government organizations, or their level of sustainable development
Known as social welfare
There are many reasons why this phenomenon is not good.
First, it misleads resources.
According to Bloomberg information-
Institutional investors are currently using a "sustainable" investment strategy of more than $3.
Investment of 7 trillion
Increased by 22% in two years
In theory, this should be a good development.
But if there is no consensus on what sustainability means, how about institutional investors and their customers --
Not necessarily operational experts.
Make sure the funds are spent on truly sustainable business?
Investors rely on a very different definition of "sustainability"
From the driver of a coal company turning off the truck engine while refueling, to a rain-dependent city quinoa farm --
Collect water and compost fertilizers.
Second, blind application of "sustainable" can deceive consumers.
Consumers may have a view of what sustainable development means, so buy a product that has sustainable development in the transmission of information.
But when was the last time Unilever's marketing manager spent time at Lipton tea house to find out what farm demand was?
How much do farmers need to get to support their families?
Did Lipton use pesticides that pollute the groundwater in her community?
Finally, TNCs missed the opportunity to expand truly sustainable practices.
Starting with a sustainable business model, companies in poor countries often use multinationals as a blueprint for how to scale up.
When these multinationals cannot continue to grow, companies in poor countries will still follow their footsteps if necessary.
In doing so, they gave up on sustainable practices.
In fact, if multinational companies get real sustainable development through their success, they will inspire thousands of companies in poor countries to maintain sustainable development as they grow up and provide them with this
I run a company in Rwanda and use banana trees to make maxi mats.
Specifically, we use the fibers in the bark that farmers usually discard after harvesting the fruit.
It is organic, renewable and can be composted.
Compared to your consumer goods company, we only use a small amount of electricity and water.
We do not use chemicals to make the mat super absorbent or Neon White.
But that is not why we are sustainable.
We are sustainable because we make decisions based on the ground.
Pragmatic, not lofty moral principles.
We do this because we have no choice.
We're at 2,500-
So if our neighbors don't like how we treat nearby rivers or our employees, they won't work for us or buy our products.
We study every aspect of the supply chain and listen to everyone who works in the supply chain --
Banana farmers, pad assemblers, neighboring communities and our customers.
The decision we made was to make a living wage for every employee.
Our business continues to grow.
It seems to me that this is the definition of "sustainability": a set of operational principles that allow companies to remain financially self-sustaining while being an excellent social and environmental steward.
Ironically, enterprises in poor countries have become a model of sustainable development.
Mainly out of need.
Unlike neighboring Kenya, Uganda and even South Africa, Rwanda is a country with few manufacturing industries in history.
If we are a bigger company, we may recruit experienced staff. and expensive —
Manufacturing personnel from abroad.
But we have no choice.
Even if we did, it was too short. term solution.
So we work with the United States and the University of Rwanda to train fresh graduates of the technical school in eastern Rwanda.
So we can hire people from the local community.
In the end, our staff will provide expertise for others to maintain skillscountry.
Three years ago, when we first started production, we talked with 600 banana farmers to determine the unit price of the extracted fiber, which made harvesting fiber profitable for them and cost-
Effective for us.
Once we get the fibers from these local farmers, we fluff the fibers into the core parts of the maxi mat with a home mixer and water.
This simple, inexpensive approach has no negative impact on the environment.
Critics argue that it is impossible for multinationals to operate like we do. Our ten-
Personal companies are very different from Unilever.
But that doesn't mean big multinationals can't follow us.
Photo: The Rwanda tea picker works in a field at Mulindi Manor, about 60 km (40 miles)
On August 5, 2010, north of the capital, Kigali.