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Sustainability front and centre for business

GROWTH

The number of organisations with procurement procedures oriented towards sustainability and reducing carbon emissions has grown over the past two years.

According to the 2013 Corporate Environmental and Sustainability Governance survey, over 90 per cent of organisations have committed to environmental policies. Over 90 per cent also have a dedicated environmental team, up from 75 per cent in 2011.

Rupert Posner, CEO of Good Environmental Choice Australia, believes that while the issue of climate change dropped off the agenda towards the end of the election, business is more interested in sustainability than ever.

“There is no doubt that if companies fully understand and address sustainability issues from a long-term perspective they will enjoy economic and business benefits irrespective of the vagaries of elections and government policies,” Posner said.

“On the ground we can see many companies taking a greater interest in broader sustainability issues and increasing understanding of some of the long-term benefits they can reap by improving their own sustainability, and there is no sign of that abating,” he added.

The survey also found the most important issues to organisations based on their plans for the next three years. Regulatory compliance for the environment came in first place, followed by improving energy efficiency, corporate governance around environmental sustainability, and customer requirements for environmental performance.

Issues considered least important include staff and customer engagement benefits from sustainability programs.

“In many situations what is good for your business will still be good for your business, irrespective of the approach taken by government. The trick is not to wait for others to tell you what to do. Understand the issues, look for the opportunities and act, and there will be benefits,” Posner said.

Opportunities for sustainability in business will be a topic of discussion at October’s Australian Sustainability Conference.